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...
This wonderful book The Book Thief is in bookshops and on posters here and there and everywhere at the moment and since Tui sneakily bought it for me for Christmas it has been sitting there on the shelf like a delicious thing savoured but not yet begun. I have just finished reading it. Of course the mention of accordions and books ensnared me as did the lovely front cover illustration of Death and a young girl by Finn Campbell-Notman. (some more of his illustrations below)
Author Markus Zusak was inspired to write this book by the stories his mother used to tell about her childhood in Munich, and about how she saw one day a line of Jews being marched through the town to Dachau, there was an old man at the back of the line, stumbling, emaciated and unable to keep up ... and a teenage boy came forward and gave him bread. The old man fell at the boy's feet and kissed his knees until a soldier noticed, took the bread away and whipped the boy. Zusak saw in this moment two extremes of humanity - kindness and cruelty - which was for him a perfect description of how humans are.
Set during World War II in Germany, The Book Thief is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meagre 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 book is described as a life changing tale of the cruel twists of fate and the coincidences on which all our lives hinge as well as a joyous and unforgettable look at the power of words and the ability of books to nourish the soul.It is narrated by Death.