The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Although the target audience for The Book Thief is young adult readers, this novel has been a really popular one among adult book clubs over the last few years, probably because it’s amazing and has won awards all over the place.

The story is told from the point of view of an unlikely narrator: Death. And set in Germany during World War II, Death has seen a lot. He becomes interested in the story of a young German girl, Liesel Meminger, as she steals her first book – the Gravedigger’s Grave Digging Handbook – from her brother when he dies. With a communist father, an ailing mother, and a dead brother, Liesel is placed alone in the home of Hans and Rosa Hubermann.  Her new foster father teaches Liesel to make sense of the jumbles of letters in the book, and as her reading improves, so does her book thieving.

The war and its effects on Liesel and her friends and family (including a Jewish man the Hubermann’s take into hiding) are prominently seen throughout the book, but are a back drop to the real story – that of a young girl growing up in a hard time and becoming her own person in spite, or perhaps because of that. The book is somehow gloomy and uplifting at the same time.

Also try Zusak’s book I Am the Messenger.

Find and reserve this book in our catalog.

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One Response to “The Book Thief by Markus Zusak”

  1. Best ‘New to Us” Books in 2014: Ruth F’s Picks | Wake County Libraries "Book a Day" Staff Pick Says:

    […] The Book Thief by Markus Zusak Who among us has not aspired to write the Great American Novel or regretted reaching middle age without having done so? Mark Zusak, that’s who. His 40th birthday is six months from now and his literary masterpiece is 10 years old. The Book Thief has earned a slew of awards, dominated best-seller lists, been canonized on high school required reading lists and been adapted for a movie. But a technicality prevents it from being called my generation’s Great American Novel: the author is Australian and the setting is Nazi Germany. It seems counter intuitive for a book about genocide in World War II Europe to also be about a post-racial American ideal. But Zusak makes it work. In this war story, humanity trumps race or creed. Young or old, Jew or Gentile, German or not, everybody faces a common enemy in the villainous narrator: Death.  Read another review. […]

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