The Book Thief pdf, Book, Summary by Markus Zusak,

The Book Thief pdf Book Summary

The Book Thief pdf by Markus Zusak, a novel by the great Australian author Markus Zusak. The extraordinary, beloved novel about the ability of books to feed the soul even in the darkest of times. When Death has a story to tell, you listen. It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath.

Death has never been busier, and will become busier still. Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.  In this superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak, author of I Am the Messenger, has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.

The Book Thief Author – Markus Zusak

Markus Zusak The book Thief author
Markus Zusak The book Thief author

Markus Zusak is the international bestselling author of six novels, including The Book Thief and most recently, Bridge of Clay. His work is translated into more than forty languages, and has spent more than a decade on the New York Times bestseller list, establishing Zusak as one of the most successful authors to come out of Australia. All of Zusak’s books – including earlier titles, The Underdog, Fighting Ruben Wolfe, When Dogs Cry (also titled Getting the Girl), The Messenger (or I am the Messenger) – have been awarded numerous honours around the world, ranging from literary prizes to readers choice awards to prizes voted on by booksellers.

In 2013, The Book Thief was made into a major motion picture, and in 2018 was voted one of America’s all-time favourite books, achieving 14th position on the PBS Great American Read. Also in 2018, Bridge of Clay was selected as a best book of the year in publications ranging from Entertainment Weekly to the Wall Street Journal. Markus Zusak grew up in Sydney, Australia, and still lives there with his wife and two children.

The Book Thief pdf Book Information (Amazon)

The book thief by Markus Zusak
The book thief pdf book by Markus Zusak
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Knopf Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (September 11, 2007)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 608 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0375842209
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0375842207
  • Reading age ‏ : ‎ 12 – 14 years
  • Lexile measure ‏ : ‎ 730L
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.25 x 1.22 x 8 inches
  • Best Sellers Rank: #627 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • #1 in Teen & Young Adult Holocaust Historical Fiction
  • #2 in Children’s Books on Orphans & Foster Homes
  • #2 in Children’s Holocaust Fiction Books (Books)
  • Customer Reviews: 4.7 out of 5 stars    32,438 ratings

Read excerpt of the book thief pdf by Markus Zusak

© Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

DEATH AND CHOCOLATE

First the colors.
Then the humans.
That’s usually how I see things.
Or at least, how I try.

***HERE IS A SMALL FACT  ***
You are going to die.
I am in all truthfulness attempting to be cheerful about this whole topic, though most people find themselves hindered in believing me, no matter my protestations. Please, trust me. I most definitely can be cheerful. I can be amiable. Agreeable. Affable. And that’s only the A’s. Just don’t ask me to be nice. Nice has nothing to do with me.
***Reaction to the  ***
AFOREMENTIONED fact
Does this worry you?
I urge you–don’t be afraid.
I’m nothing if not fair.
–Of course, an introduction.
A beginning.
Where are my manners?
I could introduce myself properly, but it’s not really necessary. You will know me well enough and soon enough, depending on a diverse range of variables. It suffices to say that at some point in time, I will be standing over you, as genially as possible. Your soul will be in my arms. A color will be perched on my shoulder. I will carry you gently away.
At that moment, you will be lying there (I rarely find people standing up). You will be caked in your own body. There might be a discovery; a scream will dribble down the air. The only sound I’ll hear after that will be my own breathing, and the sound of the smell, of my footsteps.
The question is, what color will everything be at that moment when I come for you? What will the sky be saying?
Personally, I like a chocolate-colored sky. Dark, dark chocolate. People say it suits me. I do, however, try to enjoy every color I see–the whole spectrum. A billion or so flavors, none of them quite the same, and a sky to slowly suck on. It takes the edge off the stress. It helps me relax.

***A SMALL THEORY  ***
People observe the colors of a day only at its beginnings and ends, but to me it’s quite clear that a day merges through a multitude of shades and intonations, with each passing moment.
A single hour can consist of thousands of different colors.
Waxy yellows, cloud-spat blues. Murky darknesses.
In my line of work, I make it a point to notice them.

As I’ve been alluding to, my one saving grace is distraction. It keeps me sane. It helps me cope, considering the length of time I’ve been performing this job. The trouble is, who could ever replace me? Who could step in while I take a break in your stock-standard resort-style vacation destination, whether it be tropical or of the ski trip variety? The answer, of course, is nobody, which has prompted me to make a conscious, deliberate decision–to make distraction my vacation. Needless to say, I vacation in increments. In colors.
Still, it’s possible that you might be asking, why does he even need a vacation? What does he need distraction from? Which brings me to my next point. It’s the leftover humans. The survivors.
They’re the ones I can’t stand to look at, although on many occasions I still fail. I deliberately seek out the colors to keep my mind off them, but now and then, I witness the ones who are left behind, crumbling among the jigsaw puzzle of realization, despair, and surprise. They have punctured hearts. They have beaten lungs.
Which in turn brings me to the subject I am telling you about tonight, or today, or whatever the hour and color. It’s the story of one of those perpetual survivors–an expert at being left behind.
It’s just a small story really, about, among other things:
* A girl
* Some words
* An accordionist
* Some fanatical Germans
* A Jewish fist fighter
* And quite a lot of thievery
I saw the book thief three times.

BESIDE THE RAILWAY LINE
First up is something white. Of the blinding kind.
Some of you are most likely thinking that white is not really a color and all of that tired sort of nonsense. Well, I’m here to tell you that it is. White is without question a color, and personally, I don’t think you want to argue with me.
***A REASSURING ANNOUNCEMENT  ***
Please, be calm, despite that previous threat.
I am all bluster–
I am not violent.
I am not malicious.
I am a result.
Yes, it was white.

It felt as though the whole globe was dressed in snow. Like it had pulled it on, the way you pull on a sweater. Next to the train line, footprints were sunken to their shins. Trees wore blankets of ice.
As you might expect, someone had died.
They couldn’t just leave him on the ground. For now, it wasn’t such a problem, but very soon, the track ahead would be cleared and the train would need to move on.
There were two guards.
There was one mother and her daughter.
One corpse.
The mother, the girl, and the corpse remained stubborn and silent.
“Well, what else do you want me to do?”
The guards were tall and short. The tall one always spoke first, though he was not in charge. He looked at the smaller, rounder one. The one with the juicy red face.
“Well,” was the response, “we can’t just leave them like this, can we?”
The tall one was losing patience. “Why not?”
And the smaller one damn near exploded. He looked up at the tall one’s chin and cried, “Spinnst du! Are you stupid?!” The abhorrence on his cheeks was growing thicker by the moment. His skin widened. “Come on,” he said, traipsing over the snow. “We’ll carry all three of them back on if we have to. We’ll notify the next stop.”
As for me, I had already made the most elementary of mistakes. I can’t explain to you the severity of my self-disappointment. Originally, I’d done everything right:
I studied the blinding, white-snow sky who stood at the window of the moving train. I practically inhaled it, but still, I wavered. I buckled–I became interested. In the girl. Curiosity got the better of me, and I resigned myself to stay as long as my schedule allowed, and I watched.
Twenty-three minutes later, when the train was stopped, I climbed out with them.
A small soul was in my arms.
I stood a little to the right.
The dynamic train guard duo made their way back to the mother, the girl, and the small male corpse. I clearly remember that my breath was loud that day. I’m surprised the guards didn’t notice me as they walked by. The world was sagging now, under the weight of all that snow.
Perhaps ten meters to my left, the pale, empty-stomached girl was standing, frost-stricken.
Her mouth jittered.
Her cold arms were folded.
Tears were frozen to the book thief’s face.

The Book Thief Characters

Death
Death, the collector of souls, arrayed in any or all the world’s colors when it comes, narrates the story of a young girl coming of age during the horrific times of Nazi Germany and the Second World War. To the reader, Death insists that it “most definitely can be cheerful”, even affable, but also relates that it most certainly cannot be nice. And sometimes Death is “compelled” to take action in sympathy with the human story.

Liesel Meminger
The protagonist of the story is an adopted girl on the verge of adolescence, with blonde hair. Her eyes, however, are brown. She is fostered by the Hubermanns after her biological father “abandons” their family due to being a Communist, her brother dies, and her mother is forced to send her to a foster home to avoid Nazi persecution. Liesel is the “book thief” referred to in the title because Liesel is fascinated by the power of words. Liesel stole books from a gravedigger, a bonfire, and the mayor’s wife, Ilsa Herman.

Hans Hubermann (Papa)
Liesel’s foster father and husband of Rosa, Hans is a former German soldier during the First World War, accordion player, and painter. He develops a close and loving relationship with Liesel and becomes the main source of strength and support for her. He, like Liesel, doesn’t have much experience with reading. Together, the two help each other with reading and write all the words they learn on a wall in the basement. He helps Max because Max’s father saved Hans in the First World War.

Rosa Hubermann (Mama)
Rosa is Liesel’s sharp-tongued foster mother. She has a “wardrobe” build and a displeased face, brown-grey tightly-cinched hair often tied up in a bun and “chlorinated” eyes. Despite her temper, she is a loving wife to Hans and mother to Liesel. To supplement the household income, she does washing and ironing for five of the wealthier households in Molching. When she was introduced to Max the reader sees her soft side.

Rudy Steiner
Liesel’s neighbor, Rudy, has bony legs, blue eyes, lemon-colored hair, and a penchant for getting in the middle of situations when he shouldn’t. Despite having the appearance of an archetypal German, he does not directly support the Nazis. As a member of a relatively poor household with six children, Rudy is habitually hungry. He is known throughout the neighborhood because of the “Jesse Owens incident”, in which he colored himself black with charcoal one night and ran one hundred meters at the local sports field. He is academically and athletically gifted, which attracts the attention of Nazi Party officials, leading to attempted recruitment. His lack of support for the Nazi party becomes problematic as the story progresses. Rudy becomes Liesel’s best friend and later falls in love with her.

Max Vandenburg
A Jewish fist-fighter who takes refuge from the Nazi regime in the Hubermann’s basement. He is the son of a First World War German soldier who fought alongside Hans Hubermann, and the two developed a close friendship during the war. He has brown, feather-like hair and swampy brown eyes. During the Nazi reign of terror, Hans agrees to shelter Max and hide him from the Nazi party. During his stay at the Hubermanns’ house, Max befriends Liesel, because of their shared affinity for words. He writes two books for her and presents her with a sketchbook that contains his life story, which helps Liesel to develop as a writer and reader, which, in turn, saves her life from the bombs falling on her.

Ilsa Hermann
The wife of the mayor of Molching who employs Rosa Hubermann. She did fall into a state of depression after the death of her only son in the Great War. Ilsa allows Liesel to visit, read, and steal books in her personal library. She also gives Liesel a little black book, which leads Liesel to write her own story, “The Book Thief”.

Werner Meminger
Liesel’s little brother, who unfortunately died suddenly on the train with his mother and sister, was transported to their foster parents. His death is what allowed the first book to be stolen, a gravedigger’s manual dropped by a young boy learning to work in the cemetery. He died by coughing blood, corroded brown in color.

Paula Meminger (Liesel’s Mother)
Liesel’s mother is only mentioned in the story a few times. Liesel’s father was taken away by the Nazis before the novel starting because he was a Communist, and the reason her mother – Paula Meminger – was taking both her children to foster care was to save them from Nazi persecution. For a while, Liesel writes letters to her mother thinking there is a chance she is still alive. Like Liesel’s father, Liesel’s mother dies, but Liesel eventually does realize her mother gave her away to protect her.

Hans Jr (Hans’ and Rosa’s son)
Hans Jr is the son of Hans and Rosa Huberman. He is very supportive of the Nazi party and fights with his father about it frequently. He is eventually sent to participate in the Battle of Stalingrad.

The Book Thief Themes pdf Book

The Dualities of Nazi-era Germany

From the moment Rudy paints himself black to emulate Jesse Owens, we see that characters often have two faces, or sides. While on the surface Rudy appears to be an ideal Aryan, so much so that the Nazis try to recruit him into a special training center, inside he emulates an African-American, which directly contradicts Nazi ideology. Max, meanwhile, does something like the reverse. When he travels from Stuttgart to Molching, he poses as a non-Jewish (or gentile) German, calmly reading MKPF, while on the inside he is a terrified Jew who finds the book abhorrent. The book Max later writes, which on the outside bears the cover of MKPF, but the pages of which have been transformed to Max’s story of resistance against the regime, also embodies this theme of duality.

The Hubermanns are part of the theme as well. Once they begin hiding Max, they lead double lives. They pretend to be law-abiding citizens to their friends and neighbors, while inside they harbor their dangerous secret. Hans instructs Liesel about this behavior after he slaps her for saying she hates Hitler in public, explaining that she can feel as she likes in the house, but in public she must behave in a certain way. In fact, duality is a theme of life in general for Liesel and Rudy. Both spend a great deal of time engaged in typical teenage activities like playing soccer in the street. But these moments are broken up with events like the parade of Jews through town, or the bombings that threaten and ultimately destory Himmel Street. The theme suggests that appearances don’t always reflect reality, and also signifies how, in the oppressive political climate of Nazi Germany, many people must express their humanity in secret, subversive ways. Naturally this theme also ties in with the theme of extreme kindness and cruelty that people are capable of, and the two often intertwine.

The Responsibility of the Living to the Dead

Because many of the characters in the novel have lost family members, many wrestle with the survivor’s guilt of continuing to live while their loved ones do not. Hans feels he owes his life to Erik Vandenburg, who indirectly saved him during World War I. As a result, he believes he is responsible for caring for Erik’s family in any way they need, and the offer Hans makes to Erik’s widow is the reason that Max Vandenburg seeks refuge with the Hubermanns in the first place. Max has his own feelings of responsibility. When he arrives at the Hubermanns’ house, he is so consumed by guilt over having left his family, presumably to die, that he can barely function. Similarly, Ilsa Hermann is wracked with grief over the death of her son. Liesel is plagued by nightmares of her dead brother.

Over the course of the novel, these characters slowly overcome their guilt, and come to realize that their greatest responsibility to the dead is to go on living. Thus, when Liesel returns to Frau Hermann’s house thank her, she feels her dead brother’s approval. And when Frau Hermann begins helping Liesel by leaving books for her, she is able to move past the pain of her dead son. The exception is Michael Holtzapfel, who is overcome with guilt for having lived while his brother died. When Michael’s mother refuses to go to the bomb shelter, Michael interprets this as a rebuke of his own willingness to save himself from the bombs. He can’t take the guilt much longer and commits suicide soon after.

The Kindness and Cruelty of Humans

The novel shows the varying degrees of people’s kindness and cruelty, from the slight to the most extreme examples. Among the small acts of kindness we see are Ilsa Hermann inviting Liesel into her library and Rudy giving the teddy bear to the dying pilot represent the kind end of the spectrum. On the other hand, we see similar acts of cruelty, such as Viktor Chemmel’s and Franz Deutcher’s treatment of Rudy. We also see far more dramatic examples of each. The Hubermanns commit a great act of kindness in hiding and caring for Max. They keep him alive at great risk to themselves and always treat him with the utmost respect. Notably, they care for him not only physically by providing food and shelter but also emotionally, making him feel like a part of the family. Liesel in particular is kind to Max, and the two develop a strong bond. Given the political context of the time, with hatred and violence against Jews being rampant, Max clearly finds Liesel’s kindness to be extraordinary. Meanwhile, the concentration camps linger unseen in the background of the book as the most extreme example of cruelty.

Quotes from the book thief pdf by Markus Zusak

“The only thing worse than a boy who hates you: a boy that loves you.”― Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

“I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.”― Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

“Like most misery, it started with apparent happiness.”― Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

“It kills me sometimes, how people die.”― Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

“I am haunted by humans.”― Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

“I wanted to tell the book thief many things, about beauty and brutality. But what could I tell her about those things that she didn’t already know? I wanted to explain that I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race-that rarely do I ever simply estimate it. I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damning and brilliant.”― Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

“Imagine smiling after a slap in the face. Then think of doing it twenty-four hours a day.”― Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

“Even death has a heart.”― Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

“He does something to me, that boy. Every time. It’s his only detriment. He steps on my heart. He makes me cry.”― Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

“She leaned down and looked at his lifeless face and Leisel kissed her best friend, Rudy Steiner, soft and true on his lips. He tasted dusty and sweet. He tasted like regret in the shadows of trees and in the glow of the anarchist’s suit collection. She kissed him long and soft, and when she pulled herself away, she touched his mouth with her fingers…She did not say goodbye. She was incapable, and after a few more minutes at his side, she was able to tear herself from the ground. It amazes me what humans can do, even when streams are flowing down their faces and they stagger on…”
― Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

“A snowball in the face is surely the perfect beginning to a lasting friendship.”
― Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

“A small but noteworthy note. I’ve seen so many young men over the years who think they’re running at other young men. They are not. They are running at me.”
― Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

The Book Thief Reviews

Editorial reviews about the book

“Thought-provoking, life-affirming, triumphant and tragic, this is a novel of breathtaking scope, masterfully told. It is an important piece of work, but also a wonderful page-turner.”—The Guardian

“This is a stunning book, seemingly channeled from a rare, artistic muse.”—Seattle Post-Intelligencer

“[A] haunting tale [that] will steal your heart.”—The Miami Herald

“One of the most highly anticipated young-adult books in years.”—The Wall Street Journal

“Intricate and extraordinary.”—Newsday

“An absorbing and searing narrative.”—Orlando Sentinel

“Lyrical and moving.”—San Francisco Chronicle

“This fabulous novel is rich, complicated and wise enough to satisfy a reader of any age.”—The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“[B]oth gripping and touching, a work that kept me up late into the night feverishly reading the last 300 pages. You can’t ask for much more than that.”—The Plain Dealer (Cleveland)

“A remarkable read.”—The Sacramento Bee

“This is a brilliant look at the wartime lives of ordinary decent people.”—St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“This is virtuoso work. Zusak exhibits the kind of mastery and peak power Kurt Vonnegut showed in his wartime tale Slaughterhouse-Five.”—The Grand Rapids Press

“It’s the book to pick up for people who love to read.”—The Florida Times-Union

“Remarkable, just plain remarkable.”—The Anniston Star

“Subtle, simple, yet vividly imagined.”—Teen Vogue

“Beautiful and important.”—Kirkus Reviews, Starred

“Exquisitely written …. A tour de force to be not just read but inhabited.”—The Horn Book, Starred

“It’s a book of greatness.”—The Bulletin, Starred

“An extraordinary narrative.”—School Library Journal, Starred

“An achievement.”—Publishers Weekly, Starred

Customer reviews on Amazon for the book thief pdf by Markus Zusak

SEBTop Contributor: Coloring

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!

Reviewed in the United States on February 12, 2018
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Eleven-year-old Liesel Meminger is a foster child who has recently arrived in a small town outside Munich, Germany during WWII. Liesel has been sent to live with Hans and Rosa Huberman, presumably for the small stipend they’ll receive. Liesel is still suffering from the loss of her little brother and the difficult and somewhat mysterious separation from her mother. She takes an immediate like to Hans, who is kind and thoughtful, but takes much longer to warm up to the abrasive Rosa.

Liesel makes friends with next-door neighbor Rudy and establishes herself as a self-proclaimed book thief. Becoming unlikely friends with the Mayor’s wife Ilsa affords Liesel the opportunity to read the books in the Mayor’s massive library. Along the way, Liesel is witness to the atrocities of war, heartbreaking events, love, loss and other life-changing events. I saw the movie The Book Thief several years ago and loved it. When I decided it was time to read the book I was absolutely captivated. Although the book is 550 pages long, I read it in just two days – it was THAT good.

The book is different in several ways, ways in which I won’t go into in my review. Suffice it to say that I’m glad I saw the movie first and then read the book. I think I might have been disappointed with the movie version if it had happened in opposite order. This just goes to show how well the author has written this important piece of fictionalized history. The time period, location, mood, characters, etc. come to life as the story unfolds.

I was surprised at some of the other reviews, stating that the book was just plain depressing. I’m not at all sure how a book that deals with the systematic extinction of a race of people can be written about in an uplifting, happy way. Yet, the book is so much more than a story about a German girl who is living in Nazi Germany during WWII. There are many lovely, tender elements to be found in The Book Thief. The additional anniversary edition footnotes written by the author (at the end of the book) provide wonderful insight.

I think it’s extremely important that all generations read books like The Book Thief. This is part of history and, as poet and philosopher George Santayana said, “Those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it.” This is a book that is emotionally draining, but very much worth the read!

Justin and Katie Schauer

5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it

Reviewed in the United States on February 12, 2018

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I waited way too long to read this book. I don’t even really know why I waited so long, other than Courtney and I started this blog around the same time that I actually bought the book and it took me a while to get to the point where I started reading some of the books that I wanted to read instead of just books that we received requests for. If you follow my blog at all, you know that I love WWII era historical fiction. What I loved about this book is that it showed the lives of average Germans during the war. That’s not a perspective I’ve seen a lot (or ever that I can think of off the top of my head). But Liesel’s foster family wasn’t exactly average either because they held unfavorable opinions about Jewish people, at least unfavorable by German standards during the war.

Another highlight of this story was that it was told from the perspective of Death. It was a bit odd to get used to at first because he jumped around a bit, as Death is wont to do in the course of his work, but once I got used to it, it was a fun way to see things. While death isn’t exactly omniscient, he does have access to information that a human narrator wouldn’t have.

I realize that I’m late enough to this party that you’ve probably already made up your mind about whether you want to read this book or not, but if you’re still on the fence about it, you should absolutely not wait any longer. You’re likely to regret it if you do, like I did. Overall I give The Book Thief 5.05 stars.

Quirky Opinions

5.0 out of 5 stars Can’t think of a heading.

Reviewed in India on February 16, 2017

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This is going to be short because I seem to be lacking words for how much I loved this book.

In fact, saying I ‘loved’ it almost seems wrong because reading this novel was so impactful and such an experience that… that I don’t have the proper words. This is the story of a girl, Liesel, set in Nazi Germany. She’s a book thief. And the story is narrated by Death. That’s all you need to know. I, personally, was sold when I heard about the narrator. Didn’t even need to know anything else.

This is a beautifully written novel about the life of a young girl, the life of people, during war. And it really hits you, the amount of loss caused by war. And for what? Power? Some misconception? It seems such a waste of so many lives, simply because of one man’s crusade and a nation of people at his disposal, whether it be by fear or manipulation. The book brings you closer to something that you usually recount only distantly. And it does a wonderful job of it. This book was amazing. I love the character, the story, the narrator and everything it had to show and tell. This is one novel that I will not soon forget and I very much think that you should read it.

Valerie L Pate

5.0 out of 5 stars A Lot of Love for Liesel…

Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 21, 2014

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don’t know how many times I have picked up this book from a bookstore or library shelf, only to replace it. Shamefully, I believe it was the trailer for the upcoming film that led me to open it to the first page and read the first few sentences. I immediately decided that I absolutely must take it home with me at once for further, intense devouring.

I am not a fan of war books as a sort of general rule; and yet there have been war related novels which have come along and proved the exception. This book, while set in Nazi Germany, is unlike any other World War II book in existence. First of all, the narrator is none other than Death himself. Such a fantastical host provides a unique introduction to the characters of the book and their individual plights. Zusak has created a cast of palpably deep individuals, rich unto their depths, and cleverly juxtaposed them with a wryly observant, mythological presence. I must state that this makes for a truly magnificant combination. Some characters will stay with me forever; like distant friends viewed through the foggy lens of memory. Liesel and her dear foster father, Hans, are two of these extremely special, fictional creations.

As a pacifist, I hold in high esteem those who dare to defy crimes against humanity; often at extreme risk to themselves. There were many “Hans Hubermanns” during the war; people that aided Jews and refused to keep irrational prejudices alive in their hearts. Zusak has really given life and breath to Hans. He is the embodiment of a “good neighbor”. He would make an excellent dinner guest, but not because of lofty conversation. Hans is steadfast, and quite critical to Liesel’s development of character.

As for Liesel, I found myself instantly aligned with someone who could take such joy from books. Even before she knew how to read, Liesel fell in love with reading. Liesel may have been unable to escape the war and its shocking atrocities, but she took her escape and her comfort from the books that she collected. Liesel’s story feels so real it makes me wonder at Zusak’s inspiration for her. As with all underdogs, the reader cannot help but yearn for Liesel’s survival. More than that, however, I loved being able to treasure every one of her new books with her. I rejoiced in her turn to writing, and I cried beside her more than once. She was intriguing enough to stir the curious interests of the infamous Reaper; and that fanciful conception actually serves to balance an otherwise painfully human construction. We want realism, but we respond to brief reprieves of levity in equal measure.

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