A novel narrated by Death: highly recommended!

the-book-thiefI sat there in the brilliant evening sunshine, blinking back the tears. Pretending it was the sun in my eyes that had dazzled me when, in fact, it was the book I had just finished.

If you haven’t read The Book Thief by the Australian writer Markus Zusak – then you must!

It is a tale of dark times in Nazi Germany, of Jews and hiding and concentration camps. A tale narrated by Death as he reluctantly travels the world bearing the souls of the dead.

Or – in the words of the blurb in the back:

This novel is narrated by Death

It’s a small story about a girl, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist fighter and quite a lot of thievery.

The protagonist of the story is Liesel, a foster child who arrives on Himmel Street to live with Rosa and Hans Hubermann. It is she who is the book thief, finding relief from life in words.

As the narrator Death says at the end of the book:

“I wanted to tell the book thief many things, about beauty and brutality. But what could I tell her that she didn’t already know? I wanted to explain that I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race – that rarely do I ever simply estimate it. I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words so damning and brilliant.”

Now, you might think that this book would be very depressing given its subject matter. But it isn’t – the book is comical, and written with such compassion and wit, that it transcends all the evil and sadness of the human race to dazzle and remind us of the kindness of people under pressure.

It is moving, thought-provoking, life affirming and magical.

28 thoughts on “A novel narrated by Death: highly recommended!

  1. We had it for book club but I had difficulty reading past the place where her mom had to give Liesel up. I’m not very strong. But I could see that it is a wonderfully written, unique sort of book and all my braver friends loved it.

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  2. My Mum was just telling me about this book the other day…she’s coming to visit at the beginning of August and is going to bring it with her 🙂

    I can’t wait to read it….sounds like my kind of book!!

    C x

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  3. I think it might be Dumdad who first alerted me to this book – and then what did I go and do but read some very critical reviews that quite put me of buying it. Maybe I’ll give it a shot.

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  4. Thanks for the recommendation – I’ll have to go look for it. I really need to get out and pick up some new reading material. Lately I have been reduced to re-reading whatever I have on-hand in the house, most of which I have already read several times.

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  5. Delay on the photo is entirely my incompetence, it is in an envelope in my bag but I’m rushing around a lot. I will let you know once I manage to post it. Apologies for being slow!

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  6. I’m so out of the loop in books, but this does sound really interesting.
    Just wanted to say thank you for stopping by my blog so regularly! I appreciate your comments.

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  7. I will definitely give this one a go. I haven’t read anything with this sort of perspective before. I’m curious to experience it. And with such a glowing recommendation from you…

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  8. I will definitely have to check this one out. I LOVE books and this one looks amazing. I rated your video. I hope that helps. If you write a small post about it, it will help bring people to it. I always do little updates on the progress and that seems to always help. Thanks for being such a wonderful person and for having such an awesome blog.

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  9. Everybody in Australia had been raving about this book but I couldn’t get past the protagonist’s first encounter with death, let alone her second and gave up. Life is too short to be trawling through books I don’t enjoy!!

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  10. This makes me think of the wonderful movie “La Vita è Bella” – an amazing, heart-warming story, sad and funny at the same time. I shall definitely add this book to my reading list!

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  11. I have heard so much about this book that I finally added it to my to be read list … and now I see you love it too!!! The cover you show is more interesting than the one I’ve seen!

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