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An excellent book, though a little difficult to begin with
The Book Thief - Markus Zusak
Member Name: fanta_esque
The Book Thief - Markus Zusak
Advantages: A beautifully crafted story
Disadvantages: The very unique and different writing style
'The Book Thief' is set in Nazi Germany covering the period before and during the Second World War. The story follows Liesel, a nine year old girl who is fostered by Hans and Rosa Hubermann living on an average German street. Into the story comes a fascinating cast of characters including Rudy Steiner, Liesel's best friend, The mayor and his wife who encourages the book thief and Max, the Jew the Hubermann's risk their lives for by hiding in the basement.
Although the book is told through first person it is not narrated by any of the people involved in the community where the story is set, instead it is told through the perspective of Death.
I absolutely loved this book but will happily admit that it might not be to everyone's liking and the writing style is quite difficult to get to grips with. As it is told through 'Death' it does not follow your average first person narration. The author does quite well in making him very 'otherworldy' with a lot of powerful metaphors, similes and synesthetic descriptions. Death often interjects with a little note to the reader set aside quite clearly on the page in bold, separating them from the flow of the narrative and disrupting it somewhat. If you can get your head around this it's well worth it, but I know a few friends who could not get past the first chapter because of this rather different tecnique.
In terms of the actual story I found it refreshing. This was the story of Liesel, her family and their community. It was all very normal. I have read many books set during the Second World War and found they focus very much on extraordinary individuals, fictional or otherwise. But the Hubermann family are just a normal German family, they do not support the Nazi party but will go along with it for their own safety, as we know many Germans did during this period. Of course they have moments of bravery and at times show great courage but it is a very 'average person' type of courage that shows most of us could do great things in such trying conditions. I was impressed that the war itself did not become the main focus of the story. Instead it was an event that impacted upon the family and the story dealt with the effects of this event. It is a very emotional read and yes, I did cry at the end. A lot.
The novel is aimed at young teens but I would recommend this book to anyone of any age group, I am sure that not being a teenager would not diminish this reading experience in the slightest.
Summary: An emotional read and beautiful story, but might take a while to get your head around the style