If you are looking for a read that will quite literally paint a picture for you – this is it. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is absolutely outstanding. This book was not on my radar until I saw commercials for the movie (side note – have not seen it yet), but I could not be more pleased with this read.
Zusak’s writing style is unique, charming and vivid. His story eloquently portrays a young girl’s (fictional) journey during the holocaust. From a train car to a small town outside of Dachau, Zusak writes from the eyes of death. The story follows death through different circumstances of the war. The girl, Liesel, is taken in by a family outside of Dachau. The family consists of Hans and Rosa Hubermann, an older couple who make due by playing the accordion and doing laundry. Hans will teach Liesel how to read and Rosa will swear a lot. Later they will take in and hide a Jew, Max. Max and Liesel grow together and Zusak does a marvelous job of describing certain scenarios to paint a picture in your mind. Instead of saying the sky was blue, Zusak will describe the clouds looking like animals and the sky being a kind of gray full of despair. You can literally see what he is trying to portray – that is a rare gift for a writer to give so eloquently.
There are portions of the structure of the book that may not appeal to every reader. There were many random thought breaks, small paragraphs in the middle with little structure and plot twists given away ahead of the story. I personally always read the last sentence of a book which usually doesn’t give anything up, but in this case Zusak tells you who will die a couple hundred pages before it happens.
Overall – a great read on a time piece that is commonly overused. The Book Thief is a new take on WW2 fiction that will make the most tired readers eager to turn a page. After all, what reader doesn’t like a book about books?