May 26, 2010

Without Words: The Book Thief

The Book ThiefThis might be my shortest post ever. I finished reading "The Book Thief," by Markus Zusak, and I'm mostly speechless. I can offer only a series of words to describe the book. After that, I suggest you find the book and read it. Don't be turned off by the first 10 or 15 pages -- keep reading. You'll be entranced and taken by the story. The words?


Have you read this book? Let's talk. I'm curious what your reaction is. There have been a flurry of books from the perspective of the "active" participants of the Shoah, or those who were not "active" but were bystanders during World War II, and I'm intrigued by this. It seems that there's a push for the story of the righteous gentiles and their efforts. In both books I've read recently with this theme, I've felt an undertone of sympathy (note that the other book I'm speaking of is The True Story of Hansel and Gretel by Louise Murphy).



Anonymous said...

Oh wow. This book stunned me into silence for a day or so - I couldn't talk about it, really!

Then I re-read it, and it had the same effect. Such a very clever way of styling the protagonist/narrator.

I think I'll read it again.

Sophia said...

I loved the book. The story of Max and Liesel was so moving. I particularly noted the way it brought out the humanity of the Germans of the time, whom we often think of as inhumane and indifferent. I even found myself empathizing with the families who had found themselves supporting the Nazis - such as the chapter 'The Snows of Stalingrad', which almost had me in tears.
And of course, Death, the liberator, tired and worn out, who had felt sorry for the Jews, and tried to 'catch' their souls as they fell. The marches of the Jews. I cried so much while reading that book, it seems I spent most of my time crying. One of the few Holocaust themed books which actually lives up to the daunting responsibility of writing about that ugly period in history.
Inspite of this, it still reads kind of like a fairytale - so sweet and tragic.

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