I'll post here all the book related content that I usually share on my blog, be it comments, reviews, quotes or whatever else.
When this book got to me, the sky was grey and tearful. The owner brought it together with another one that she had promised to lend to me, because she thought I should read it. We ended up both soaking wet. She was right, much more at that than what we both could have guessed at the time.
This book shows the story of Liesel, a German child living near Munich in Nazi Germany as the World War II and the Holocaust unfolded that was able to pique our narrator's - Death - curiosity. Through her experience and Death's "eyes" the author tells a story that at the same time is absolutely believable but also has the reader wishing it wasn't credible at all. Liesel and her family's extremely difficult life are explored in parallel with terrifying episodes of that time, such as the general installation of anti-Semitism associated with the economic problems and the transformation of Jews into lesser creatures, the attempt to convince Germans that a war was needed to get what is rightfully theirs and even the forced conscription to the army. As one follows and falls for the girl, one can't escape a constant terror of what can at any point happen to these people (I can't bring myself to think of them as just characters) that we feel we know and like. Beyond the allusion to the war, The Book Thief explores in more detail what affects each person, in this case the consequences of political dissidence, the need to appear totally supportive of the regime, the problems of wanting to survive as much as wanting to be true to oneself. The symbology interwoven through the narrative adds to the reading experience, from the association of words, writing, reading and books with ideas, hope, salvation and freedom to the use of basements to place a parallelism between Germans taking cover from air raids and Jews hiding from Gestapo. However, Markus Zusak doesn't simply deliver a mesh of dramatic events, as the context might have lead him to. He has subtlety in how he conveys ideas and emotions and he knows to intersperse drama, everyday life and even humour and sweetness giving complexity to a work of art that is already one of my favourites.
Finally, I must write about Death, a narrator with whom I immediately related and whose comments the author emphasizes graphically and comically, that go from historical data to simple opinions sometimes even spoiling future events and often surprising be it for their easiness be it for their crudity.
There would be much more to say about the events, the symbols and the writing in The Book Thief, but I don't want to give more details. I hope that what I wrote is enough a recommendation to this book, one that I send out to anyone that enjoys reading.
The day I finished reading The Book Thief the sky was blue, clear but for some smoke from forest fires around Vila Real - I was the one crying.
"I am haunted by humans."
Thank you Catarina.