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The Book Thief by Markus Zusak


What is about the holocaust that makes whatever is set in them usually a masterpiece. It may be the fact that these most extreme circumstances bring out both the best and worst in people or is it the fact that the characters are usually on the precipice of a moral quandary at all times. Is it because of the fact that  no piece of imagination could conjure up death on such a horrific scale. Maybe its because we know that the story is truth and the fiction is just a layer on top of it. Whatever be the case, stories in the holocaust are usually profoundly moving(with the notable exception of The Reader which was just plain rubbish).
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is another book set in the holocaust. Death is the narrator, and one might even say the one with the most work in Nazi era Germany. The book tells us the tale of a young girl named Liesel through the eyes of Death. She discovers a book at the scene of her brother’s death. Her foster father teaches her to read and soon she begins stealing books from the library of the mayor. The book thief in essence shows what the impact of words and books(sounds silly but think back and recall the Nazi Propaganda, films, how twilight changed vampires from dangerous creatures to cuddly little lovebirds etc) can be. The most interesting pieces of prose as you can guess are the observations by Death and the way he sees things.
Its definitely a great read. The use of Death as a narrator works surprisingly well. At one point of time Death points out that the end is already known, everybody dies, its the machinations that make them get there that matter.

You can buy The Book Thief here.


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