Author: Markus Zusak
It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .
Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel 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 before he is marched to Dachau.
This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.
As I completed the last words in this book, I just sat for a few minutes. That’s always been the power of great books, they force you to think and reflect on everything. Damn, Markus Zusak, What did you do to me?
This book just makes you appreciate the goodness of Humanity…it feels strange even writing these words. For God’s sake, this is a book about Germans living in World War 2 and is narrated by none other than Death.
O yes, you heard that right, this is a book that is from Death’s point of view, how he goes about picking up souls while trying to distract himself from his job by noticing the colours of the sky. He does not enjoy his work, but you know, it’s a job that he has to do, and he does it.
This book was different. In more ways than one.
Apart from its extremely unexpected narrator, the book starts at the ending. And death even lets you know what to expect in the end “to soften the blow”, but, even though you know what is going to come, and you think you have come to terms with it, the end just blows you apart, softly and gently, just as death’s cold hands dive into the warm bodies. And when the book ends, you just know something has been added in you, and that something is an experience.
The book is also about words. The value of words, the way they can calm a person, comfort a person, make them forget their fears, troubles, and worries.
characters People in this story are not just someone you read about, they are your close friends, the people you meet regularly and drink coffee and discuss the general affairs with. You are invested in them, they are flesh and blood. You are as interested in what Hitler’s next war strategy is as them, your heart beats as fast as theirs in the basement while waiting for air raids. You are as worried about the fates of their loved ones as they are.
A few rare books are like this, and I am glad I came across this. A big thank you to John Green for mentioning this book in his videos, which made me pick this up!