intraspace: the review lounge

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

the book thief

the book thief, by markus zusak

i can't remember when or where this book first caught my eye, but i always thought i would like it. it is the story of a german girl living near munich during WW2. as the title suggests, she has a knack for stealing books.

finally i got hold of a copy when anna found it in the library at the school where she teaches. when i got it in my hands, it immediately disrupted my reading schedule and pushed other books that were more established in my reading queue further down the line.

i don't know why i thought i would like it, but i was right. i compare it to the book by andrei makine that i read earlier this year ('the earth and sky of jacques dorme'). both books have an alternative view of WW2 and are told in beautifully poetic ways with children in the foreground.

i find it hard to review fiction, because you always seem to have to give away part of the plot in the process. i don't want to do that, because it would be much better to let other people discover it for themselves.

the story unfolds in a wonderful way, making use of asides, definitions, and even some cartoons (you have to see it to really understand what i'm talking about). it's tragic, with moments of humour - the tragedy never overpowers the book or the reader but it never loses its significance either. surprisingly, markus zusak is an australian - so i guess that makes this book australian fiction but it is very european. the copy i read is beautifully designed inside and out - i think this is the australian and new zealand edition. it has been released with a different cover now (see below) which is nowhere near as good - i wonder if they have changed the inside as well. it would be a shame if they have.

i recommend this book very highly and wish everyone would read it. and i will return this copy to the library, but i really want to keep it.

warandpeace-o-meter: 669/981 (volIII, bookXI, chapI)

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