342 of 356 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another humdinger
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...
Published on 14 Mar 2008 by Mr. Peter Steward
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Pollyanna of Molching
I enjoyed Zusak's writing style. He has a gift for imagery and manages an easy narrative warmth. Personally, I found the personification of death in this story interesting, if a bit forced in parts, and though the whole thing could have been shorter (and the trite Word Shaker bit removed completely), all in all this was a cosy tale where everything fitted together...
Published 16 months ago by Papergirl
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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing narrative and perspective!,
Last week, having finished my last book of the current stockpile, I walked in the book store with a list containing 6 names. 'The Book Thief' wasn't one of them. To my disappointment only one book of my shortlist was in stock, so I decided to ask the clerk to recommend me a book. It's something that I've done before and have come to dread, but this time it got me 'The Book Thief'. Picked it up 2 days ago, fell in love with the narrative mode and unusual style after the first couple of pages and had my eyes glued on it whenever I had some free time.
As said on the backcover, the story is narrated by Death, but it's not as disturbing as one would imagine, it's actually refreshing. Just think of Brad Pitt in 'Meet Joe Black', he runs around collecting souls and is seemingly unmoved, but deep inside, buried under all the misery he has seen, there still is some emotion seeping out. But that's actually not the plot of this book, it just adds an extra storyline, which wouldn't be there if the book was narrated by the protagonist or from a third-person view.
The story is set in Nazi-Germany during the 2nd World War, which creates a less accustomed perspective of that time. You could compare it to 'The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas' since that book also deals with a German child growing up in those dire years, but comparing them would only lessen the value of both of them, so I'll stop the comparison here. The adventures of the little girl, which most will assume as normal life during those times, are presented in a exciting way and like so the author managed to captivate my attention like any exquisite author should. The characters in 'The Book Thief' are written in a very skillful way. People you'd expect to be cruel beings turn into the most loving characters as you progress through the pages, which just makes the bonds you create with them as the reader a little stronger.
In short, this book is a must-read. Considering the setting you'd expect a depressing book, which it is at times, but overall it's actually uplifting. The combination of Death as a storyteller, the hard-to-forget Liesel and other characters, and the unique writingstyle create a piece of influential prose!
4.0 out of 5 stars Book thief,
This review is from: The Book Thief (Kindle Edition)
Well written book that keeps the interest in what is a very difficult subject to read about. Gives a whole new perspective to the holocaust in Germany during world war II.
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book,
Good book but I found some of it disappointing, there were illustrations and a "book within a book" which I felt was the writers way of filling up space. I lost interest at those moments. Otherwise entertaining, but not the best I've ever read.
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!!!,
This book has already so many great reviews, i thought why write one more? Well, because i could not stop myself! BOOK THIEF is FANTASTIC!! it is written in a very unusual language, but that doesn't mean it is difficult to read. On the contrary you can't put it down. The writer has managed to create characters you will never forget, especially the father. Throughout the book there is one prevailing idea, the importance of books and reading! And that is something all of us who buy books can understand and relate to. I would recommend this book anytime!!
5.0 out of 5 stars Life amongst death; Death amongst life. Beautifully written - read and enjoy,
You might think that a book narrated by Death, whose subject is a fostered girl - Liesel Meminger - wrenched from her birth family, growing up in Nazi Germany between 1939 and 1943 won't exactly be a bundle of laughs. In fact, it's far less downbeat than that premise would lead you to expect.
There are two main reasons for this. The first is that for most of the time Death narrates in a convivial, chatty style. It's almost as if telling the story is a light relief for him (I assume Death is a him), as he sets aside his regular duties; almost as if we are his therapist. The second is that despite the increasing intrusion of the Nazi state and the war, children are still children and will - and do - find joy and distraction even in the worst of times.
The idea of Death as the narrator is of course something of a conceit, particularly given that the rest of the book it rooted firmly in the human world. That said, it's one that works well as it allows the narrator to pass comment and judgement, and to be distracted and diverted from time to time, while retaining the distance necessary to perform Death's actual and - here - literary roles.
Another unusual feature of the book is the collection of asides, factoids or storylets inserted into the main text. This too could become an affectation were it not done so effectively. Rather than becoming intrusive, they fit in well with the overall storytelling style.
The story is predominantly character-driven: the interaction and development of those living in and around a very average street in a nondescript small town near Munich. It is of ordinary people in extraordinary times.
As such there's a huge amount riding on the characterisation. Without an epic narrative, it's the people who sustain the weight of the story. Fortunately, what made The Book Thief such an enjoyable read was how beautifully observed Liesel, her adoptive parents, her friends, neighbours and even the lesser characters all are. Against such a dark backdrop, it would have been easy to paint them in primary colours: good or bad, generous or mean, heroic or cowardly and so on. That temptation is resisted and while there are clear distinctions, there's also nuance, shading and development too.
For those who wish to see them, there are bigger messages too, about the importance of words, of books, of freedom of thought (even if those thoughts can't always be spoken), of the very nature of childhood, of the soul and of life itself.
I'm loath to say too much about the story though in many ways, the ultimate destination isn't all that important; it's more how the journey is made. I would recommend joining Liesel and Death in making this one.
2.0 out of 5 stars Just didn't like it that much,
I read many reviews and people's "top books to read" lists, and this book just didn't meet my expectations. It was unlike other books I had read, where I couldn't put them down, I was just waiting for something to happen.
5.0 out of 5 stars A FANTASTIC BOOK AND A MUST READ!,
Review 7 out of 5
I will start by saying that I had never heard of The Book Thief before I was given a copy to read for World Book Night. It was a serious oversight on my part! It is a FANTASTIC book!
This book is narrated by Death. I was so used to reading a straight story, that it took me a while to get used to the lack of dialogue. I'm not saying there was no dialogue, just not the "he said, she said" variety. Once I got used to the "voice" telling the story, I found myself caught up in the tale of a nine-year-old girl growing up in a time of war and hardship.
Liesel is a great character, full of independence and spirit that made me like her. She's a fighter. She stands up for what she believes. This is an extremely dangerous thing to do in Nazi Germany, but it made me cheer for her.
There are also some great characters living on Himmel Street. Rudy Steiner is Liesel's best friend and ally. They get up to all sorts - thievery being one of them!
Then there is Mama and Papa, Liesel's foster parents. Mama has a sharp tongue, but she hides a huge heart. Papa is the first person to break through Liesel's defences, and it's his love and attention that makes her love the written word, as well as him.
Then there is Max Vandenberg, a Jew. He has a profound affect on not only Liesel, but myself.
Death is present through the whole book, and as he narrates the story of The Book Thief, he bring's his own unique outlook to a brutal time. I actually liked Death, he is witty and very observant. There is a saying, "It's a dirty job, but someone's got to do it" and it definitely applies to him.
There is also another saying, "The pen is mightier than the sword" and in the case of The Book Thief, it is certainly true. Words, whether spoken or written, can have the most profound affect. They can build worlds, or destroy them. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading The Book Thief, and if you haven't read it yet, I highly recommend that you do so. It is a book full of emotion - love, loss, joy, anger, fervour and sadness, but it is the lasting legacy of words that will stay with me forever.
5.0 out of 5 stars The "lovely" Book Theif,
Loved this book, we read it for our book club. I loved it but turned out to have mixed reviews. The thought of "Death" being quite funny, sneaky and likeable kept me spellbound to the book. I would recommend it to anyone its a nice book.
5.0 out of 5 stars Immense,
The Book Thief is one of the best books I have ever read, it's as simple as that. The narrative voice is convincing and innovative, the characters are well developed and the plot is both moving and cleverly thought out. As a result, I read everything else that Zusak has written and I was disappointed, but that only really reveals what a great book this is.
5.0 out of 5 stars found by accident,
I enjoy reading chick lit or thrillers, this is neither, I don't remember how I came to be blessed by this story, I feel like a cheat writing a review as I haven't finished it yet, by choice, I am cherishing every page and do not want it to end, I have just ordered a copy for a friend and feel the need to share this amazing story with everyone, I am sure you have read the previous reviews and have a general idea of what happens but you have yet to experience the magic of this heart warming tale, no time to write more I have my book to read!
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The Book Thief by Markus Zusak