The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

I’m not sure I’ve read a book as simultaneously uplifting and horrifying as The Book Thief. Perhaps this is not too surprising as it’s narrated by Death himself.

Death tries to not get involved in the lives of mortals. He considers his job to be a business and a duty. He doesn’t understand why the Almighty has set it up this way. But as he reminds himself, he’s not in the business of asking questions but of collecting souls.

Still and all, there are some humans who get to him, even in a hugely fruitful season like the Second World War, and Death is not without compassion, though he is busy. Very busy. Yet standing out from the horrors human beings can inflict on one another are some truly gentle, good, brave souls. One of them is The Book Thief.

Child of a Communist mother marked for death by the Third Reich, young Liesel Meminger is dirty, uneducated, brokenhearted, and beautiful in spirit. Taken in by a poor foster family, she grows in love and hope even as the world crashes down around her. And Death watches.