The Book Thief - Marcus Zusak

The book is available in two versions - The Adult version and The Teenagers version, although there is no difference in the story. Both are easily available.

GENRE - Historical Fiction

AUTHOR - Marcus Zusak

DEATH has never been busier, and will become busier still. Liesel Meminger's life is changed when, by her brother's graveside, she picks up an object partially hidden in the snow. It is The gravedigger's handbook left there by accident and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words as Liesel with the help of her foster father learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book burnings, the mayor's wife's library, wherever there are books to be found. But these are dangerous times. When Liesel's foster family hides a Jew in their basement, her world is both opened up and closed down.

God there were so many of them.
So many sets of dying eyes and scuffling feet.
Liesel searched them and it was not so much of a recognition of facial features that gave Max Vandenburg away. It was how the face was acting - also studying the crowd. Fixed in concentration. Liesel felt herself pausing as she found the only face looking directly into the German spectators. It examined them with such purpose that people on either side of the book thief noticed and pointed him out.
"What's he looking at?" said a male voice at her side.

The book thief stepped onto the road.
Never had movement been such a burden. Never had a heart been so definite and big in her adolescent chest. She stepped forward and said very quietly "He's looking for me".
Her voice trailed off and fell away, inside. She had to re-find it - reaching far down to learn to speak again and call out his name.

"I'm here Max!"
"Max I'm here!"

Chandana speaks - 
This is one book that I have read around 10 times but have never tired of it, which is pretty rare for me. The story is set during the time of the Nazi rule in Germany during World War II, and oddly enough is narrated by Death. As you keep reading the narration, he almost feels human and at some point you start empathizing with him, because Death is actually sorry for what he has to do as his job. He describes the first time he sees 9 year old Liesel Meminger (in the 1930's) in a graveyard shortly after the death of her brother where she steals her first book The Gravedigger's handbook after it is dropped by one of the gravediggers. Despite being un-educated and unable to read it becomes her link to her past even after she is taken away from her mother and put in the care of Rosa and Hans Hubberman - her foster parents. She has difficulty adjusting to her new life and often has nightmares about her mother and brother. Hans Hubberman whom she later starts calling 'Papa' discovers the stolen book one night when he comes to comfort her during her nightmare. They form a special bond and thereafter Hans takes it upon himself to teach Liesel to read and write. Liesel also befriends a boy named Rudy Steiner who, apart from falling in love with her and annoying her also becomes her best friend and partner in crime. The pair eventually takes to stealing as an occasional pastime, usually fuelled by Rudy’s constant hunger. 

The story takes an unexpected turn when Hans Hubermann is contacted by Max Vandenburg, the son of a Jew who saved his life in the First World War. Keeping the promise Hans made to the man who saved his life, The Hubbermans hide Max in their basement and he forms an unlikely but very special friendship with Liesel. But when Hans publicly gives bread to a Jew being sent to a concentration camp, his intentions become clear and the it gets too dangerous for Max to stay hidden in their house for any longer. Max disappears. The next time she sees him is when he is being marched through the town to a concentration camp. 
What happens later is something you should read and find out. It would be too cruel of me if I disclosed anything beyond this.

It is a raw, deeply moving and immeasurably sad story. Its the story of a little girl who tried to change the world in her own little way, which is also very inspiring. A must read!!

"She has been robbed of a brother, who dies at the start of the book. Her mother disappears, and then Liesel is left in foster care. A great deal has been taken away from her. She steals books to settle the score".
Rating - 5/5 
PRICE - INR 245/- (Flipkart)


  1. Such clear and crisp review. I am definitely keeping this one! :D :D

  2. @chandana: Welcome to the blog (I know I m late :D :D )

    Loved the storyline and I have particular liking to fiction/nonfiction stories set in historical backgrounds.. And Nazi times do make a good reading.. This one I will surely try :) :)

    You reviewed is so well and have given it full points so well this gets into my wishlist :)

  3. looking forward to buying it, asap! a great review!

  4. awesome review. This! I have to read this one! looks spellbinding!

  5. I agree with FL...your review makes me want to read it too bad...

    :) :) off to flipkart now :D


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