The extraordinary #1 New York Times bestseller about the ability of books to feed the soul even in the darkest of times.
Nominated as one of America's best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read.
When Death has a story to tell, you listen.
It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.
Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.
In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak, author of I Am the Messenger, has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.
“The kind of book that can be life-changing.” —The New York Times
“Deserves a place on the same shelf with The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank.” —USA Today
DON’T MISS BRIDGE OF CLAY, MARKUS ZUSAK’S FIRST NOVEL SINCE THE BOOK THIEF.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Markus Zusak’s renowned novel is set during World War II, but this is no war story. Rather, it’s an exploration of life and death, family and love, and the ultimate power of words—for good and evil. Narrated by an omnipresent Death, The Book Thief tells the tale of Liesel, a young German girl who learns to read and write while the horrors of Hitler’s reign close in on her. Written in a stunningly vivid, poetic style and told in a manner that's digestible and utterly engaging, it's no surprise that this poignant book is enduringly popular.
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.
This is one of those jewels about WW2. Beautifully written an very worthwhile. Although I would truly liked to see a little more action. But don’t let that keep you from reading it.
It steels your heart and fortifies your soul
I felt more like I was imbibing in this book, it’s characters, real and the best of humanity in the worst of times.