I love hanging about in book stores. I might hang around for hours and only buy one book, or I might visit for thirty minutes and buy five! Most of the time, these purchases are not planned. I like to look at the books, feel it, smell it, hold it in my hand, read the reviews and feel its weight. For me, going to the book store is a lovely experience. A few years back on one of these visits I picked up a book called The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Since the purchase, I’ve been trying to explain to myself why I bought it, because I just couldn’t get around to actually reading it. A few weeks back I moved into my new flat and was unpacking my books when I chanced upon The Book Thief and decided to give it a go. After the jump is my review of the book, which I finished last week.
PS: In short – I’d say read it.
The story of Liesel Meminger, the hero of the novel, starts out with heartache and loss. And death. For death is the narrator of the tale, you see. So perhaps I should refer to him as Death. OK. Death narrates the tale of Liesel and her move in with her new foster parents, her new life after her mother was taken away in Nazi Germany. At this point there is a not too uncommon picture painted; the horrid new foster-mother, who curses at every opportunity and has an ongoing rivalry with a neighbour which involves spitting on doors (OK, that’s new). And then there’s the foster-father, kind-hearted with a sense of being and humanity that springs off the pages of the book.
From there, we follow Liesel on this journey of discovery in wartime Germany. There is a Jew who forms a beautiful friendship with the book thief, a lovely love story and the story of loss in a time of war. There is hair-raising, on the edge of your seat basement searches and anger at the treatment of Jews by Germans during that time. I couldn’t put the book down. I read into the night and during free time during the day. The novel is beautifully written, with a brave style that cannot easily be replicated. I’d recommend it to anyone.
PPS: Yesterday I was on just such a trip to the book store and after about two hours bought Outlaws Inc by Matt Potter. Tell you about it soon.