HERE IS A SMALL FACT – YOU ARE GOING TO DIE
1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier.
Liesel, a nine-year-old girl, is living with a foster family on Himmel Street. Her parents have been taken away to a concentration camp. Liesel steals books. This is her story and the story of the inhabitants of her street when the bombs begin to fall.
SOME IMPORTANT INFORMATION – THIS NOVEL IS NARRATED BY DEATH
It’s a small story, about:
some fanatical Germans
a Jewish fist fighter
and quite a lot of thievery.
ANOTHER THING YOU SHOULD KNOW – DEATH WILL VISIT THE BOOK THIEF THREE TIMES
Every so often you come across a book that really touches you and leaves you reeling for days or even weeks after – this book is one of those.
Initially I’d put off reading as it’s quite long (554 pages) and so had been sat on my book shelf for 12 months or so. In fact, even though it’s 500 odd pages I read it in less than a week. Probably down to the fact that it’s really easy to read despite the subject matter of WW2 and the Holocaust.
The Book Thief tells the story of Liesel, a young German girl taken by her mother to live with foster parents during the ww2. We meet her on her journey to her new foster parents and what ensues is a heart-warming, heart-breaking and emotional story of her growing up in war-torn Germany, the relationships she builds with her foster parents, her neighbours and a Jew and the books she steals! Oh and as the blurb says her story is told by Death.
I am haunted by humans
I think it made for an interesting read that it’s narrated by Death as it gives us a completely different view of ‘him’ (it reads like a him) and makes ‘Death’ seem almost caring. The relationships between Liesel, Hans, Max, Rudy and Rosa are the most prominent although the supporting characters were developed well such as Frau Holtzapfel and Isla Hermann; we learn so much about all of them because of Death.
Five hundred souls.
I carried them in my fingers, like suitcases.
Or I’d throw them over my shoulder.
It was only the the children I carried in my arms.
It’s an interesting take on the other side of the Holocaust, to see it from the German perspective, from people who were stuck in the middle so to speak who didn’t believe what was happening to be just but were too frightened for their own lives and the consequences of speaking out.
Don’t be put off that it’s labelled as a YA – I really enjoyed it and highly recommend to others. Overall a great read with well developed characters, a great plot and a satisfying ending…although it didn’t make me cry! Now I’m really looking forward to the movie adaptation to see if it has done the book justice.
Connect with the author Markus Zusak