Sitting on my reading list since it first hit the shelves in 2005, it was the title that really grabbed my attention, as right up until the moment I opened the front cover I actually had no idea what The Book Thief was about.
After reading it this month, I must say that I was absolutely blown away.
Set during World War II, The Book Thief follows two protagonists - Leisel, a nine year old girl who comes to live with foster parents in Germany, and Death. Death narrates the story, Leisel’s story, partly from his own meetings and encounters with the people she has loved and lost, and partly from a lost book, a diary in which Leisel details the events and experiences of her life on Himmel street.
Zusak’s portrayal of Death is unlike any other I’ve known. Recreated as a character of sympathy and comfort, Zusak’s character of Death laments the sadness and horrors his job carries, and takes utmost care in carrying souls from worn and broken bodies, which were in shameful abundance at the time.
Often sending chills down my arms and inspiring the need to reread particularly superb lines over again, The Book Thief is beautifully descriptive, thoughtful and exquisitely crafted. It is a book that I would sincerely recommend to any and every reader, aged 10 or 110.
- this review by Rebecka Sharpe Shelberg
Title: The Book Thief
Author: Markus Zusak
Publisher: Picador Australia, $19.95 RRP
Publication Date: 2005
For ages: 10+
Type: Older Junior Fiction, YA Fiction