The Book Thief

I have just finished reading The Book Thief by Markus Zusack, and loved it!

It’s told from an unusual perspective, because the narrator is Death – though he doesn’t really like that name, or (even worse) “The Grim Reaper”.

It tells the story of Liesel Meminger, a child in Nazi Germany, and I thought it beautifully written!

Such wonderful turns of phrase! So many places where I paused in my reading, just to savour the language or the description.

Here is an example, taken from a passage where Liesel was fighting a young schoolmate, Ludwig Schmeikl, in the playground:

Oh, how the clouds stumbled in and assembled in the sky.
Great obese clouds.
Dark and plump.
Bumping into each other. Apologising. Moving on and finding room.
Children were there, quick as … well, quick as kids gravitating towards a fight. A stew of arms and legs, of shouts and cheers, grew thicker around them. They were watching Liesel Meminger give Ludwig Schmeikl the hiding of a lifteime. “Jesus, Mary and Joseph,’ a girl commentated with a shriek, ‘she’s going to kill him!’

Or here’s another passage – a description of a Nazi book burning in the town square:

The orange flames waved at the crowd as paper and print dissolved inside them. Burning words were torn from their sentences.
On the other side, beyond the blurry heat, it was possible to see the brown shirts and swastikas joining hands. You didn’t see people. Only uniforms and signs.
Birds above did laps.
They circled, somehow attracted to the glow … until they came too close to the heat. Or was it the humans? Certainly the heat was nothing.

And at the end of that day … ‘the dark came in pieces‘ …

Beautiful stuff!

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