The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

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Pages: 550 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Goodreads Rating: 4.35
Rating: 

Alright, I think everyone knows what The Book Thief is all about. It is a story of Liesel Meminger, an orphan, who was being taken to live with a pair of foster parent in Molching during the Nazi regime. She unofficially became a book thief when she first stole a book at her brother’s burial rite.

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The greatest thing I love about this book is the brilliant and absorbing narrative. Book Thief is narrated by a first person narrator who was known as Death who narrates in a weary and sometimes, humorous tone. Death is by far the most remarkable and important narrator I have ever encountered – This could have simply been another story about the Holocaust, but instead, Zusak nailed the story by using Death as the narrator. Brilliant. Some may find the narration device weird, but I liked it. It is alternately emotional, serious and almost saccharine.

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As for the language, well, it is beautifully haunted, poetic and powerful. The writing style is so vivid and descriptive, it just swallowed me in. Some people may not like it because of its slow development but it was perfect for me. The odd pairing of words sequence, the detailed sensory experiences, and the way situations explained left me speechless, that is how powerful the book is. To steal words from the book itself, the story is “so ugly and so glorious” at the same time.

I embraced each of the characters and I know they will cling to my heart for years to come. The curious and strong-willed Liesel, the kind-hearted Hubermanns, the crazy Rudy Steiner, Max Vanderburg and even the supporting characters. They will certainly live in my heart.

I cried so many times. It was the unaware, silent tears streaming down my face for several pages sort of cry and I, literally spent the last 50 pages weeping. My poor little heart is broken. Definitely one of the best books I’ve read this year, an evocative and bittersweet piece of literature. Highly recommended.