REVIEW: The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

Set during World War II, The Book Thief portrays life in Nazi-controlled Germany, through the eyes of the country’s most frequent visitor at that time, Death, and his obsession with a young girl with a penchant for stealing for books.

I was skeptical when I first started reading this book. I had heard such great things, but the initial prologue seemed bizarre and confusing, and I wondered whether it was just one of those books that was trying too hard to be something special. But by the end of the first chapter I was hooked.

I ended up loving it for a multitude of reasons; the descriptions, particularly with reference to the colours, were beautifully written; the characters were described in such a way that you seamlessly grew to know more about them as the book progressed; and the presentation of Death as an unwilling slave, in direct contrast to the usual trope of a being often personified in such a dark, hellish kind of way. But I think, for me, what I loved most was the way it portrayed life in Nazi Germany. There was no over-exaggeration, it was simple and realistic; war happens, but life finds a way to go on, even in a country so ravaged and affected by war as Germany was during those years.

It was funny, touching, heartbreaking, and at times, all too real. A beautifully written book that touches on one of the darkest periods of history with true care and sensitivity.

You’ll like this if you liked: The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne

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