When I was getting close to the ending of The Book Thief, part of me wanted to put the book down, and not because the story didn’t hold my interest. Quite the opposite actually. I had really been enjoying the story and the great writing style. I enjoyed the first person narration from a very unlikely source. I loved the pacing of the tale and how he let it unfold. I wanted to stop reading so I could prolong my experience of this book.
Have you ever read a book that you didn’t want to end? One that, as you got closer to the last page, you were already starting to mourn that you would no longer be able to continue reading it? Well, that was my experience with this book by Markus Zusak.
The story is narrated by Death and it starts in the late 1930s in Germany. Death comes to take a young boy on a train. In the process, he is quite taken by her sister and it is her story that he slowly unfolds for us in the course of this novel.
The young girl is “The Book Thief.” She is completely captivated by words and steals her first book at the funeral for her brother. Someone had left behind “The Grave Digger’s Handbook” and the sight of the book just sitting in the snow was too compelling for her not to take it. This starts her love affair with books and the written word.
The novel deals with the Holocaust in a very real and honest way. Death lets us know that he was very busy during this time. However, he is a sympathetic character. He isn’t malicious, he doesn’t collect the dead like they were trophies or like he has an insatiable thirst for it. He goes about his business and notes the colour of the world as he scoops up and carries the souls of the dead with him.
I love how, as he narrates the story, he sometimes gives us glimpses of what is to come. It’s a very effective device that frames the chapter and scenes to come. I’m not sure how the author pulled this off so well. It is something I will have to study in further detail.
This book is amazing! I highly recommend it!
I am continuing to document every book that I read over the course of the year. You can find the complete list here, along with links to each post I have written these books.