It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will be busier still.
By her brother’s graveside, Liesel’s life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger’s Handbook, left behind there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordian-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found.
But these are dangerous times. When Liesel’s foster family hides a Jew in their basement, Liesel’s world is both opened up, and closed down.
In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time
Liesel Meminger- A child taken in by a German family living is Himmel Street, is interested in books. But Nazi Germany wants the world to know about one and only one book, Mein Kampf. Hence, Liesel becomes the infamous book thief to feed her longing for the printed world.
The Book Thief has been narrated by Death itself. A monstrous creature, who is being kept busy by war, noticed this small and fragile child wight from the time she lost her baby brother. His insights into human behavior are astonishing and frankly, quite accurate.
Liesel had a normal childhood (when compared to other girls in her position). She was raised by loving parents, found friends where she went and was full of life. Her life was tragic in equal measures too, for a child her age to lose as many people as she had.
Death, however, is surprised by her zeal and enthusiasm towards all things basic. When he goes to collect Liesel’s soul, he is happy to be reunited with his one connection to the living world, a girl who taught him so many and showed him all the colors he wished to see.
‘The Book Thief’ is all that and so much more. The book takes us to the heart of Germany, where Jews are being marched to concentration camps, where the only religion and the only God if Hitler. The streets are full of violence and the sky full of raids. Children and adults are trying to look for a better future while war keeps ‘death’ busy.
The story is full of grief and heartache, with a sliver of sunshine here and there. Liesel’s story reminds me of ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’, especially because they were on different sides in the war and this story is the exact opposite of Anne Frank’s.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Markus Zusak is the author of five books, including the international bestseller, The Book Thief , which spent more than a decade on the New York Times bestseller list, and is translated into more than forty languages – establishing Zusak as one of the most successful authors to come out of Australia.
To date, Zusak has held the number one position at Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, the New York Times bestseller list, as well as in countries across South America, Europe and Asia.
His books, The Underdog, Fighting Ruben Wolfe, When Dogs Cry (also titled Getting the Girl ), The Messenger (or I am the Messenger ) and The Book Thief have been awarded numerous honours ranging from literary prizes to readers choice awards to prizes voted on by booksellers.
Zusak’s much-anticipated new novel, Bridge of Clay , is set for release in October 2018 in the USA, the UK and Australia, with foreign translations to follow.