Tuesday, 5 February 2008

The Book Thief

Somebody recently gave me a book called "The Book Thief" for my birthday - I am not sure who because my kids opened my presents and scattered the cards and gifts (and wrapping for that matter) to far flung ends of the room - in any case I would like to thank the donor for the gift which ranks for me amongst the best fiction books I have ever read.

The story is narrated by Death (yes, the grim reaper himself) and it tells the story of a young German girl and her foster parents during world war II. The story is beautifully told, the language simple but rich in imagery and the characters hugely compelling. The writer, a gentleman called Markus Zusak, hails from Australia but he paints a picture of wartime Germany that is vivid and multi-dimensional. He shows how humanity was compromised under nazism and how thin the line was between those who were complicit and those who resisted Hitler's call.

Zusak tells the warm, bittersweet tale of Liesel Meminger, the book thief with great touch. Every chapter is preceded by a series of hints which whet your appetite for the chapter ahead. On occasion these hints tell you what is going to happen, but somehow despite this, he manages to maintain the tension all the way through.

I have said enough now - I hope you will read this book and enjoy it as much as I did.