By 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.
This book was beautiful.
The first thing you notice is that it presents the narrative in a really fun and unconventional writing style that helps lighten the emotional heaviness of the book. The narrator (spoiler alert: it’s Death!) is a really great character and has his own distinct voice in this book, and I loved that he kept interrupting the story with Announcements and Notes in a genuinely funny way.
Liesel’s story is fascinating, and all of her relationships are very well developed, but the one that absolutely touched my heart in an unexpected way was her relationship with Max.
I found it quite surprising and refreshing that Death as a narrator actually spoils various events before they happen, confessing that he thinks that How we get there is the more interesting part.
And indeed, even knowing what’s to come, this book got me to tear up and that’s not an easy thing to do.
It’s both a heartwarming story, and a heartbreaking story. All the best stories usually are.
5 hearts out of 5!