The Book Thief is a young adult novel, but I haven’t met an adult yet who hasn’t found it profound. It is a highly readable, unusual story, narrated by ‘death’. The writing is so good, it is probably the best and most creative book on the Holocaust that I have ever read.
Liesel Meminger is a little girl in Germany who goes to live with foster parents and is the one who steals books and uses them to feed souls. There can be beautiful moments in ugly times and Zusak captures these well. Some of the passages where death is narrating are oddly captivating. But there is also humour in this book and a life affirming lightness which uplifts and restores faith in humanity. It is no surprise to me that this book has won many awards.
Some have said that the book has a slow start, probably because of the unusual narration and the metaphorical language. Give these passages at the beginning some careful attention and savour them, they are well worth it; the action does pick up soon after, and will not let you go.
This interview with the author captures the creative process the author went through in writing The Book Thief. It is worth watching.