‘They say that war is death’s best friend, but I must offer you a different point of view on that one. To me, war is like the new boss who expects the impossible. He stands over your shoulder repeating one thing incessantly. ‘Get it done, get it done.’ So you work harder. You get the job done. The boss, however, does not thank you. He asks for more.’
Narrated by death, The Book Thief focuses on the young character Leisel Meminger who is placed in a foster home in Germany during World War Two. She soon discovers her love of words and eventually becomes secretly known as the book thief. Entwined in her story are snippets of other characters and what they get up to, the magnitude of war, the amount of lives lost daily and the impact on Germany itself.
I want to commend Markus Zusak on his poetically exquisite writing style – he has captured a story of tragedy and loss in such a beautiful way. For me, his skill with words and the unique way he combines them is what I have taken away from reading this book. Choosing to have ‘death’ as the narrator is not a common decision when considering the voice for a novel and I think Zusak does this brilliantly. There is something quite eerie about reading a fictional ‘death’s’ thoughts and day-to-day errands during World War Two.
There are a lot of characters in the book so it did take a little while for me to familiarise myself with all of them but once that had passed it became an easy pace at which to read along to the story. I enjoyed how the bulk of his chapters were quite short, it allowed an easy rhythm for the book to move along to without feeling too rushed.
I would recommend this book however it was not a personal favourite of mine. I am interested to know other reviews. Have you read The Book Thief? Did you enjoy it? Feel free to comment below!