Death, a sardonic and articulate character who is afraid of humans, narrates this WWII coming-of-age story about faith, love, hope amidst tragedy.
Zusak has created a work that deserves the attention of sophisticated teen and adult readers. Death himself narrates the World War II-era story of Liesel Meminger from the time she is taken, at age nine, to live in Molching, Germany, with a foster family in a working-class neighborhood of tough kids, acid-tongued mothers, and loving fathers who earn their living by the work of their hands.
The child arrives having just stolen her first book –- although she has not yet learned how to read -– and her foster father uses it, The Gravediggers Handbook, to lull her to sleep when she's roused by regular nightmares about her younger brother's death. Across the ensuing years of the late 1930s and into the 1940s, Liesel collects more stolen books as well as a peculiar set of friends: the boy Rudy, the Jewish refugee Max, the mayor's reclusive wife (who has a whole library from which she allows Liesel to steal), and especially her foster parents.
Zusak not only creates a mesmerizing and original story but also writes with poetic syntax, causing readers to deliberate over phrases and lines, even as the action impels them forward. Death is not a sentimental storyteller, but he does attend to an array of satisfying details, giving Liesel's story all the nuances of chance, folly, and fulfilled expectation that it deserves. An extraordinary narrative.
–Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA
My Comments :
I picked up this book from Subang Jaya Book Exchange Programme(SJBEP). It's the community book exchange programme which is held every fortnight on the 1st & 3rd Sunday of the month at the USJ 2 Community Hall, Subang Jaya.
At the beginning I was a bit confused on the narration of the book. The Prologue confused me. Initially I didn't know who was "talking" on and on about meeting the book thief three times. The beginning sounded very depressing.
As the story unfolds, I was mesmerised. Story is told by Death and his description of the events was very captivating. If you do not have the heart for sad story, then this is not the book for you. The point of view was from the innocent by stander whose words seems very naive. Love the way Death describe Hitler.
Death have a sense of humour too for in page 470, Death said "It kills me sometimes, how people die."
It's War time and yet despite all the chaos in that era, the story was told in a very calm manner. At least that was how it felt for me.
I guess, you'll just have to read it for yourself to get what I mean.