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Markus Zusak has done an amazing job getting ‘death’ to narrate a novel set in Nazi Germany during the period of World War II and the holocaust! Born to Austrian father and German mother, Markus heard his parents’  firsthand experiences  of the World War times and used them in the book!

Death tells the tale of a foster child Leisel Meminger. Nothing about war can be pleasant but the events become more eccentric when narrated by death! Leisel’s foster parents, a kind-hearted father (Hans) and a foul-mouthed mother (Rosa), her best friend Rudy are the main characters! My favourite one though was Max, a Jew whom Hans provides shelter in his basement. Leisel and Max become close friends and Max writes a book for her, his story of staying in their home and her reading! The book is written on painted pages of Mein Kampf! What an irony! And, there’s death..trying to understand the human race, fatigued by his job of taking away souls from the dead bodies.

Leisel is the book thief, she grows up reading stolen books with her foster father and writes one herself. ‘Death’ gets hold of this book and narrates it to us! I was so intrigued and impressed when death associated colors of things which probably alive human beings fail to notice. How would you feel when death says he is haunted by humans!! Such an experimental work it is! An experiment that works flawlessly for the reader! Inspite of heaps of books on this subject, Book Thief still stands out due to its sheer literal brilliance!

All the characters are very real, parts of the book break your heart and there are parts which melt your heart.. making the whole thing such a heart warming experience to read Book Thief! Inspite of all the sad aspects of war , the friendships, love and compassion unfurled throughout the book  will lift up your soul and stir your emotions. It’s a powerful, magical and poignant read, a sure recommendation for ALL.

Some Quotes:

As death:

It kills me sometimes, how people die.

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. None of those things, however, came out of my mouth.

All I was able to do was turn to Liesel Meminger and tell her the only truth I truly know. I said it to the book thief and I say it now to you.

I  am haunted by humans.

Even death has a heart.

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.

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-spot blues. Murky darkness. In my line of work, I make it a point to notice them.

I want words at my funeral. But I guess that means you need life in your life.

It amazes me what humans can do, even when streams are flowing down their faces and they stagger on, coughing and searching, and finding.

I’m always finding humans at their best and worst. I see their ugly and their beauty and I wonder how the same can be both.

So many humans. So many colours. They keep triggering inside me. They harass my memory. I see them tall in their heaps, all mounted on top of each other. There is air like plastic, a horizon like setting glue. There are skies manufactured by people, punctured and leaking, and there are soft, coal-coloured clouds, beating, like black hearts. And then. There is death. Making his way through all of it. On the surface: unflappable, unwavering. Below: unnerved, untied, and undone.

 

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