Monday, 25 February 2008

The Book Thief

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.


13 comments:

Lady Em said...

It sounds fascinating. I will be sure to pick it up next time I'm in my favorite place, the bookstore!!

Simply Wired Custom Jewelry said...

At any given time, I have a huge stack of books sitting by my bed, patiently awaiting me to read them. This one is in it, and after reading your post, it's definitely getting moved up on the list. Thanks!

BTW...your blog is so beautiful; I absolutely adore it as well as all of your work.

willow said...

These are new to me. The illustrations look wonderful. Thanks so much for sharing!

Distressing Delilah said...

I will be off to find this book online now! Thanks for sharing it with everyone!

Jess said...

What lovely pictures. Are they from inside the book? I'm currently reading the Timetraveller's wife and I notice you've read and enjoyed it too!

Rima said...

Hello folks :)
Jess.. the illustrations are by the same illustrator as the front cover but not inside the book. There are some drawings inside... but not like this :) Yes time traveller's wife is lovely - watch out... you'll cry! :)

Blog Princess said...

What wonderful imagery. And this sounds like an unmissable book.

Anonymous said...

fascinating

Katrine K said...

I`m so pleased to meet you too..! The book looks fantastic, and so does your blog and your work! I`ll come back often.

mushroommeadows said...

wow...the book sounds intense.

Anyway, I love your work. So enchanting. :)

Isabel said...

I found this book in the youth fiction section while searching for another title for my daughter. I couldn't help myself but to bring it home and I tell you, I love it. Death's narration kept me going, and I loved the drawings here and there, and especially the writings in bold letters throughout the book.
Recently, my kids and my husband gave me the Sinead O'Connor's CD "Theology" and the lyrics of one of her songs "Something Beautiful" tells well how, when in need, even a book can give us a sense of safety and shelter-a lifeline.

Pom Pom said...

We read this at school. Powerful.

jackie said...

Love this book. Made me cry so much at the end. I am reading The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey at the moment. I think you would like it.