'It's just a small story, really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, a Jewish fist fighter, and quite a lot of thievery ...' This work is narrated in the all-knowing matter-of-fact voice of Death, witnessing the story of the citizens of Himmel Street: When nine-year-old Liesel arrives outside the boxlike house of her ...
'It's just a small story, really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, a Jewish fist fighter, and quite a lot of thievery ...' This work is narrated in the all-knowing matter-of-fact voice of Death, witnessing the story of the citizens of Himmel Street: When nine-year-old Liesel arrives outside the boxlike house of her new foster parents, she refuses to get out of the car. Liesel has been separated from her parents - 'Kommunists' - for ever, and at the burial of her little brother, she steals a gravedigger's instruction manual which she can't read. It is the beginning of her illustrious career. In the care of the Hubermans, Liesel befriends blond-haired Rudy Steiner, her neighbour obsessed with Jesse Owens. She also befriends the mayor's wife, who hides from despair in her library. Together Liesel and Rudy steal books - from Nazi book burning piles, from the mayor's library, from the richer people of Molching. In time, the family hide a Jewish boxer, Max, who reads with Liesel in the basement.. By 1943, the Allied bombs are falling, and the sirens begin to wail. Liesel shares out her books in the air-raid shelters. But one day in the life of Himmel street, the wail of the sirens comes too late...A life-changing tale of the cruel twists of fate and the coincidences on which all our lives hinge, this is also a joyous look at the power of book to nourish the soul. Its uplifting ending will make all readers weep.
How does a person review a book that is so beautiful, and yet contains such horrible language that I would now shudder to even mention the book to anyone? 1 star it is.
The premise of 'The Book Thief' lures you in. It's a story told from the persona of Death during WWII. Piece by piece, the story of Liesel Meminger comes together, as revealed by Death.
"It's just a small story, really, about, among other things:
- A girl
- Some words
- An accordionist
- Some fanatical Germans
- A Jewish fist fighter
- And quite a lot of thievery"
Yes, it's a book to quote from. The author's writing style is definitely unique. Everyone will find that particular sentence which tingles inside of them. Actually, it's a story hidden within poetic prose. The poignancy and heartfelt emotion hold time still while you read. Sometimes the writer takes a moment away from the storyline to create an announcement to the reader --- just a bonus sentence in the page's middle, set off from the other paragraphs, to describe the scene in a more direct way. It's a fascinating writing style, but, Mr. Zusak, did you have to include such filthy words?
Eye-opening in several areas, the book marches you through WWII right alongside Liesel and her foster family, after she loses her own. I must say that most books concerning WWII are always from the point of view of the Jews, the persecuted, or the other sympathetic allies. However, this story reveals itself from the perspective of the everyday German families who were hurt by their own countrymen. What heartbreak they experienced around them, forced on by their Nazi neighbors.
As reflected in the title of the book, there is something to be gained by the power of words. Liesel finds that power within herself, and she aims to do something with that growing ability.
I wish I could read it all over again, minus about a tenth of the book to remove the worst of the rotten language.
Aug 21, 2014
Strong characters, story line
Each character is well defined and consistent, solid story line with historical events unfolding throughout. Enjoyable, moves fast.
Jul 31, 2014
Book for Lit Class
Great condition - this book is being used for a high school lit class.
Jul 24, 2014
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak has become my FAVORITE book. Having studied WWII Germany and the Holocaust for many years, I was able to relate to the story intimately. For me, it was one of those books I just couldn't put down.
Jun 27, 2014
Not for me
Book club read for June and July. Tried to get into the book. Even viewed the movie thinking maybe that would help. NOPE.... guess it's for others, but not me.
Publishers Weekly, 2006-11-13 Corduner uses considerable zeal and a talent for accents to navigate Zusak's compelling, challenging novel set in Nazi Germany. Death serves as knowing narrator for the tale, which is framed much like a lengthy flashback. The storytelling aspects of this structure include asides to the listener, and lots of foreshadowing about what eventually happens to the various lead characters-appealing features for listeners. But Corduner seems to most enjoy embracing the heart of things here-the rather small and ordinary saga of 10-year-old Liesel Meminger, who has been given over to a foster family following her mother's branding as a "Kommunist" and the death of her younger brother. Under her foster parents' care, she learns how to read, how to keep terrifying secrets and how to hone her skills as a book thief, a practice that keeps her sane and feeds her newfound love of words. With quick vocal strokes, Corduner paints vivid, provocative portraits of Germans and Jews under unfathomable duress and the ripple effect such circumstances have on their lives. Ages 12-up. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 2006-01-30 This hefty volume is an achievement-a challenging book in both length and subject, and best suited to sophisticated older readers. The narrator is Death himself, a companionable if sarcastic fellow, who travels the globe "handing souls to the conveyor belt of eternity." Death keeps plenty busy during the course of this WWII tale, even though Zusak (I Am the Messenger) works in miniature, focusing on the lives of ordinary Germans in a small town outside Munich. Liesel Meminger, the book thief, is nine when she pockets The Gravedigger's Handbook, found in a snowy cemetery after her little brother's funeral. Liesel's father-a "Kommunist"-is already missing when her mother hands her into the care of the Hubermanns. Rosa Hubermann has a sharp tongue, but Hans has eyes "made of kindness." He helps Liesel overcome her nightmares by teaching her to read late at night. Hans is haunted himself, by the Jewish soldier who saved his life during WWI. His promise to repay that debt comes due when the man's son, Max, shows up on his doorstep. This "small story," as Death calls it, threads together gem-like scenes of the fates of families in this tight community, and is punctuated by Max's affecting, primitive artwork rendered on painted-over pages from Mein Kampf. Death also directly addresses readers in frequent asides; Zusak's playfulness with language leavens the horror and makes the theme even more resonant-words can save your life. As a storyteller, Death has a bad habit of forecasting ("I'm spoiling the ending," he admits halfway through his tale). It's a measure of how successfully Zusak has humanized these characters that even though we know they are doomed, it's no less devastating when Death finally reaches them. Ages 12-up. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 2007-08-20 Death, "a companionable if sarcastic fellow," narrates this sophisticated novel set in small-town Germany during WWII. "It's a measure of how successfully Zusak has humanized these characters that even though we know they are doomed, it's no less devastating when Death finally reaches them," PW wrote in a starred review. Ages 12-up. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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