The Book Thief
19 Feb 2012 | ADD COMMENTS
A gorgeously written down masterpiece by Australian author Markus Zusak that tells a story about a young girl named Liesel Meminger and her relationship with her foster parents, Hans and Rosa, the other residents of the neighborhood and a Jewish fist-fighter who, unbeknown to almost everyone, is hiding in her house during the chaos of World War II. What’s beautiful and different about this book is how Markus Zusak made Death into a noun, a “person” of sort and the narrator of the story. It is a very creative and fascinating idea, indeed.
Death is described as someone who is very sympathetic and often describes moments through the colors (for example, “a sky turned red after a bombing raid). Usually, in a book, one tend to use the protagonist as the story’s narrator but instead of that cliche idea, Markus Zusak had used Death instead to which I see him as a death god, or something of that sort. Not only that, the way he wrote every scene in the book is just plain gorgeous. There is something in the way he arranged his words into “broken paragraphs” that intrigued me. I cannot quite explain it, however, there is something “different” in the way he wrote this book unlike any other author out there.
If one were to ask who is my favorite character in the book, my only reply is Death. Yes, the book’s narrator fascinates and intrigued me. In my opinion, for an author to be able to make his audience to feel empathy for Death, that author is truly gifted.
‘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 colour will be perched on my shoulder. I will carry you gently away.’
Quoted from the book itself, those were the very first lines that made me feel “Bam! this narrator is amazing!”. Zusak’s decision to cast Death as his narrator was an absolute masterpiece that I could agree no more. Not only did the narrator amused me with his sense of dark humor – or at least that’s how I see it – I am also quite amaze as to how Zusak created and developed Liesel Meminger, the ten year old heroine who cherished the value of books more than any other. She may be damaged on the inside, but she’s still strong willed and determined. At the age of ten, Liesel has displayed wisdom beyond girls at her age. If one has to quote a saying, Liesel is does not “judge a book by its cover”.
In this tale itself, Markus Zusak reminded us that books are more than just words and alphabets poured on papers; he reminded us, once again, the power a book can hold and how precious it can mean to every one of us, that books are more than just papers glued together to form a story. It’s probably one of the teachings in The Book Thief, a very beautiful artifact indeed.
In conclusion, The Book Thief is a very beautiful, must-read young adult book. It is more than just a story about ten year old girl seen through Death’s eyes; believe me when I say the journey is longer than you can think of. So, put down your usual romance, vampire novels and start reading something meaningful and valuable like The Book Thief. I dare to guarantee that this book is not a waste of your time. Oh and please, read and understand the meanings beyond this book instead of just doing it blindly as it will be very disappointing to lose concentration on such masterpiece.
Overall rating: 5/5