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The Book Thief [Paperback]

Markus Zusak
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3,336 customer reviews)
Price: 10.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

3 July 2007
HERE IS A SMALL FACT - YOU ARE GOING TO DIE 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier. Liesel, a nine-year-old girl, is living with a foster family on Himmel Street. Her parents have been taken away to a concentration camp. Liesel steals books. This is her story and the story of the inhabitants of her street when the bombs begin to fall. SOME IMPORTANT INFORMATION - THIS NOVEL IS NARRATED BY DEATH It’s a small story, about: a girl an accordionist some fanatical Germans a Jewish fist fighter and quite a lot of thievery. ANOTHER THING YOU SHOULD KNOW - DEATH WILL VISIT THE BOOK THIEF THREE TIMES

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Product details

  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; Airport/Export ed edition (3 July 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385611471
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385611473
  • Product Dimensions: 20.2 x 13 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3,336 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 469,721 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak was the best-selling debut literary novel of the year 2007, selling over 400,000 copies. The author is a prize-winning writer of children's books, and this, his first novel for adults, proved to be a triumphant success. The book is extraordinary on many levels: moving, yet restrained, angry yet balanced -- and written with the kind of elegance found all too rarely in fiction these days. The book's narrator is nothing less than Death itself, regaling us with a remarkable tale of book burnings, treachery and theft. The book never forgets the primary purpose of compelling the reader's attention, yet which nevertheless is able to impart a cogent message about the importance of words, particularly in those societies which regard the word as dangerous (the book is set during the Nazi regime, but this message is all too relevant in many places in the world today).

Nine-year-old Liesel lives with her foster family on Himmel Street during the dark days of the Third Reich. Her Communist parents have been transported to a concentration camp, and during the funeral for her brother, she manages to steal a macabre book: it is, in fact, a gravediggers’ instruction manual. This is the first of many books which will pass through her hands as the carnage of the Second World War begins to hungrily claim lives. Both Liesel and her fellow inhabitants of Himmel Street will find themselves changed by both words on the printed page and the horrendous events happening around them.

Despite its grim narrator, The Book Thief is, in fact, a life-affirming book, celebrating the power of words and their ability to provide sustenance to the soul. Interestingly, the Second World War setting of the novel does not limit its relevance: in the 20th century, totalitarian censorship throughout the world is as keen as ever at suppressing books (notably in countries where the suppression of human beings is also par for the course) and that other assault on words represented by the increasing dumbing-down of Western society as cheap celebrity replaces the appeal of books for many people, ensures that the message of Marcus Zusak’s book could not be more timely. It is, in fact, required reading -- or should be in any civilised country. --Barry Forshaw --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


"* 'Deserves a place on the shelf with The DIary of Anne Frank - set to become a classic' - USA Today * 'Absorbing and searing' - Washington Post * 'Zusak makes his ostensibly gloomy subject bearable in the same way Kurt Vonnegut did in Slaughterhouse 5, with grim, darkly consoling humour' - Time * 'Zusak's playfulness with language leavens the horror and makes the theme more resonant - words can save your life...It's a measure of how sucessfully Zusak has humanized these characters that even though we know they are doomed, it's no less devastating when Death finally reaches them' - Publishers' Weekly"

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
352 of 366 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another humdinger 14 Mar 2008
By Mr. Peter Steward TOP 1000 REVIEWER
I really can't believe that in the first three months of the year I have come across three gems in "A Thousand Splendid Suns," "A Quiet Belief in Angels" and now "The Book Thief." Each of these books is different but they are all stunning in their own individual way.

The Book Thief is highly original, although it did remind me somewhat of my book of the year for 2007 "The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas." The subject matter for both books is the Nazification of Germany. Both books look at things from the perspective of a child growing up in the most turbulent of times and both have a child-like simplicity that just adds to their powers.

The Book Thief is a beautiful book from start to finish. Indeed at times it is more of a scrapbook of a life than a novel. It has a strangeness that only enhances the subject matter. For a start it is narrated by death. But this never detracts from the shape or power of the novel as young lives are slowly ripped apart in a German Town where poverty is rife.

The central character Liesel has a beautiful calmness of spirit. She always seems to be on the verge of re-alisation whilst still retaining the fragility of childhood. Slowly and gradually the evil unfolds before her as she becomes aware of the fate of the Jews in a town where she is thrust as an unwilling refugee.

In her adopted father Hans Hubermann, Zusak has created one of those unforgettable men of strength and kindness. At first when Liesel is thrust into the Hubermann household I was expecting a hard-hearted couple keen to take the small amount of money that Lisel brings with her but not so keen to give her the love that she craves. Nothing could be more from the truth.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Clever but unconvincing 16 Mar 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is clever, unusual and ambitious narrated as it is by death, but somehow it never seems to fully pull it off. The subject matter is often oversimplified with childlike language and as such I think it lacks authority on one of the darkest chapters in modern history. The book was highly recommended to me and maybe I expected too much. But seeing as words saved Liesel, I thought more would be made of language and it would be more sophisticated. Why Zusak felt the need to keep dropping in German words into the dialogue I will never know, we knew where the book was set and they jarred the prose. It also irritated me how death gave away so much so early on about the untimely deaths of some of the main characters. All of that aside, I raced through this book and found it very easy to read, but now I've finished it I feel ambivalent towards it. It held my attention and I grew to love Liesel and especially her Papa. I cried during the closing chapters. Her view of the world was sweet, yet haunted, and I felt she faced life with dignity despite the difficult hand it dealt her. If anything the book was a rather charming story of a child's view of growing up during the war, but overall for me it lacked depth. I'm sure many will disagree judging by the number of five star ratings, but don't believe the hype.
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271 of 289 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just read it!!! 22 Feb 2008
By A. Hope
I am not sure how to describe this book - without either giving too much away - or making it sound depressing and grisely which it is not at all. Suffice to say this is a novel narrated by death. It is the story of a young girl living in Nazi Germany, who goes to live with a foster family,and learns to read, and falls in love with: books, her new Papa, a boy called Rudy, and a Jew hiding in a basement. It is also a story of WW2 - from a persepective we don't often see - ordinaary Germans - some of whom were members of "The Party."

Death takes the reader by the hand, and leads us through the lives and deaths of people in Liesel's world, he kind of "gives the game away" a few times - and yet that never spoils it - it prepares the reader for what's ahead.
This is an astonishing book - the writing is great - an unusual style - but one that fits perfectly somehow with the voice of Death - and that of the unforgettable Liesel.
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217 of 239 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece of empathy 28 Nov 2007
Sometimes a fictional interpretation of history is exactly what we need in order to be able to come to a real understanding of what it meant to live through historic events, particularly horrific ones. Markus Zusak provides us with a masterful interpretation of the Nazi period of German history from the perspective of ordinary people suffering through it and striving to keep their lives together and their souls alive and kicking within the horrific and ever-tightening boundaries constructed by the Nazi regime. He gives us a gut-wrenchingly palpable empathy for people facing harrowing decisions on a daily basis. His marvelous characters bring to life the dilemmas of those who believe they should help the Jews as well as the equally nightmarish predicament of Jews who through receiving help put others in danger. We see much of this through the perspective of the main character Liesel, who is only a young girl. Her innocence and the gradual realizations she comes to about the events swirling around her in a maelstrom of horror evoke a remarkable empathy in the reader. If you want to understand how the little people cope with such tragic historic events without allowing their souls to be crushed, read this book. Ultimately it is a portrait of the resilience and hope of the human spirit.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The book thief.
This book is brilliant, if I could give this book 10 stars i would off. I was gripped from the start, the book is ore inspiring, a must. Read.
Published 7 hours ago by p.nulty
5.0 out of 5 stars I found this a very likeable read and was one ...
I found this a very likeable read and was one of the few books I have ever read from start to finish at one sitting. Read more
Published 17 hours ago by Iain McCormick
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully told story of an ugly part of history...
A few of the reviews have criticised the writing style used by the author of this book and claimed it affects the enjoyment of the story- I entirely disagree. Read more
Published 20 hours ago by Emma Williams
5.0 out of 5 stars The Book Thief
What a book!
I found it hard at the beginning but then couldn't put it down for long. The paperback was given as a present but I needed it on my kindle so I could read it more... Read more
Published 23 hours ago by Ms JS Hilton-Thomas
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful
A point of view rarely addressed. Beautifully written and honest. I look forward to other such gems from this author.
Published 1 day ago by Charlotte Lunn
5.0 out of 5 stars This is amazing. Just amazing.
This story is so brilliantly brilliant and its so heartbreaking and my face was soaked with tears by the end. Read more
Published 1 day ago by ¹²³¤rþµ»øœ¶æð°•>¢¼½¾±
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Brilliant book to read. Now I would like to watch the film.
Published 1 day ago by Honeybun
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Finding it hard to get started
Published 1 day ago by Amazon Customer
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Not my cup of tea I'm afraid.
Published 1 day ago by valerie plater
4.0 out of 5 stars The Book Thief
This is a very interesting read, however, all these years later I still find it unbelievable that people could be persuaded to behave so badly to people of another race or creed. Read more
Published 1 day ago by Mrs. A. D. Taylor
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