Book Review | The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is not the type of story you’d read once and put away. In fact, you might not really digest its essence until you’ve read it twice or three times. Set against the 2nd World War, The Book Thief is the story of…yes, a book thief, and Death.

Liesel Meminger has to leave her parents because they can no longer fend for her. On the way to her new home, her brother dies on the train. She and her mother have to bury him along the road, and it is here that she comes in contact with her first book, The Gravedigger’s Handbook. A cloak of sadness that never leaves her spirit throughout the book.


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Remarkably different about this book is the way it is gently narrated by Death. It is a unique perspective and very enthralling. This narrator, Death, is very witty, and even philosophical. As a reader, you’d almost feel a sort of compassion for this heartless soul stealer that spreads sorrow among people, especially in a time of war when death is not an uncommon thing.

Despite being a war story, it is not entirely gruesome. There are loveable characters like Hans Hubermann, Liesel’s foster father who loves to paint and teaches Liesel how to roll his cigarettes and read books. His wife, Rosa, although a little too harsh, but still compassionate. The Mayor’s wife; a lonely character who somehow understands Liesel’s love for books and leaves the Study window open, for her to ‘steal’ as many books as possible.

There are emotional parts in the book. Lots of them. Scenes of grief that would seep into you slowly, making you resonate with the characters, imagining what it must feel like to be a victim of war. All in all, it is a sadly beautiful story, and I’ll recommend it for an emotional audience that would love a unique perspective of the 2nd world war. Download it here.

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