HERE IS A SMALL FACT - YOU ARE GOING TO DIE.
1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier.
Liesel, a nine-year-old girl, is living with a foster family on Himmel Street. Her parents have been taken away to a concentration camp. Liesel steals books. This is her story and the story of the inhabitants of her street when the bombs begin to fall.
SOME IMPORTANT INFORMATION - THIS NOVEL IS NARRATED BY DEATH.
It's a small story, about: a girl, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist fighter, and quite a lot of thievery.
ANOTHER THING YOU SHOULD KNOW - DEATH WILL VISIT THE BOOK THIEF THREE TIMES.
I'm not really sure what I can say about this, so many of you have probably already read it! I had but needed to read it to refresh my memory before the movie. I first read it when I was about 13 and can remember loving it and luckily, it was just as amazing the second time around!
So, some things to consider with this book: it is narrated by Death, is set in Germany during the Second World War and definitely does not much of a happy ending. That's all the basics and stuff you probably already knew, so good to get it out of the way! I recommend that you read this book slowly, to let all the beautiful descriptions wash over you and savour every word, for it is a truly incredible prose. Made all the more amazing by its narrator; Death likes to pick up on the small and inconsequential oddities that would have gone unnoticed but really highlights human nature in all its unlikely forms.
You know what's coming, of course you do; they're living in Nazi Germany during air raids. Death does not attempt to hide the possibility of people dying, even tells you of it, as if trying to prepare you. It doesn't work of course, it makes the anticipation worse because you know it's coming. But you can't help but enjoy the story, from Liesel trying to read to hiding a Jew in the basement, from Mama's swearing to family and neighbours going to fight in the war. I especially love Liesel's relationship with her Papa, Hans Hubermann; he is an amazing character, such an odd duck in Nazi Germany but this whole story hints that if there was one, there were likely more reluctant Germans to join the Nazi Party.
Honestly, I have so many great things to say about this but I'm going to have to leave it there because otherwise it will go on for ages! Just know that it is an amazing book, masterfully written, full of interesting comments on the human condition. If you have yet to read it, read it now!
Published 8th September 2007 by Black Swan.