Set in Germany during the Second World War, The Book Thief is narrated by Death, and tells the story of nine-year-old orphan Liesel, her foster family, and the others who live on her street. Most of the characters in the book are Nazi’s, and it’s interesting to see that under Hitler’s rule, being part of the Nazi party wasn’t necessarily a choice. Many ‘supporters’ were only acting as such out of fear for themselves and their families. The Book Thief offers the other side to the story, the war from a German perspective, though it’s totally unlike any other war novel I’ve read. It is more the reactions of those involved, and the attempts to carry on with some semblance of normality, which is the focus of the novel.
There aren’t too many surprises, as Death does a lot of foreshadowing, but, if anything, that makes it worse. Zusak’s characters are so real that though you know how their stories will end, you hope that Death is wrong.
Although this is technically a Young Adult novel, that shouldn’t put you off. The writing is beautiful, and if you’re capable of reading this without sobbing, I salute you.
“Of course, I’m being rude. I’m spoiling the ending, not only of the entire book, but of this particular piece of it. I have given you two events in advance, because I don’t have much interest in building mystery. Mystery bores me. It chores me. I know what happens and so do you. It’s the machinations that wheel us there that aggravate, perplex, interest, and astound me. There are many things to think of. There is much story.”