10 February 2010

The Book Thief (#16)

Marcus Zusak's story of Liesel, told from the point of view of Death, was one of the most beautifully heartbreaking books I've read lately. And I've read a lot of books lately.  The story was brilliantly narrated, the characters were complex and multifaceted, but did not seem affected or forced.  The book is at once tragic and hopeful, and the world of Himmel Street with its vibrant inhabitants is completely imaginable. The Germans central to the story seem, at times, to be portrayed in a way that is more sympathetic than the historical record suggests, but their actions and attitudes are completely plausible nonetheless.

So, what did I like about the story? I really liked Death. What an interesting narrator, with his own asides and digressions. Death's way of unfolding the story - mostly linear, but with references to the past and future in ways that did not seem too contrived and did not take away from the narrative flow - was unique and peppered with moments that make the story difficult to forget.

The title The Book Thief suggests that Liesel's thievery is what defines her; however, rather than being defined by the books she steals, it is from the act of reading these books that she learns how to define herself.  Her book, also titled "The Book Thief" and taken by Death, is never revealed to the reader, but Death describes it as having sections that tell her story and are each centered around a book.  Which begs the question, which books are those that define us?

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone, but especially to book lovers.

1 comment:

  1. Wow Nicole has a blog! Death certainly is an interesting narrator. This blog makes me wish I read more