The Book Thief by Markus Zusak





War. It is 1939, Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still. By her brother’s graveside, Liesel Meminger’s life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is “The Gravedigger’s Handbook”, left there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her foster father, learns to read. Soon, she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found. But these are dangerous times. When Liesel’s foster family hides a Jew in their basement, Liesel’s world is both opened up, and closed down. “The Book Thief” is a story about the power of words and the ability of books to feed the soul. In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author, Markus Zusak has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.


Group Comments

Written by Death, one reader liked his character- compassionate, witty and not utterly bleak.

Very impressive – so well written that I couldn’t put it down – very rich in texture.

Re-read it again after about 5 years. Thoroughly enjoyed it again. Two things that stood out – Death visiting Cologne after a bombing – beautiful writing and also the description of the Jews being marched to Dachau.

One reader avoided reading this book because they didn’t like ‘The Messenger’ but then through the book group, read it and loved it. The writing is magnificent. Made me re-think what counts as stealing.

Two readers struggled with Death as the narrator but will persevere based on the group’s comments.

Death as the narrator gives an interesting perspective and made it gripping and different. The detail in the book was wonderful.