Friday, 23 August 2013

The Book Thief, by Marcus Zusak

5 stars

A bittersweet, bruising and beautiful story set at an ugly time - in the heart of Nazi Germany - offering a fresh perspective and rather aptly narrated by Death himself.

I've read lots of accounts of and novels set in and around the Second World War, and it's easy to make the assumption that every German at that time was a hate-filled monster, eager to assert their authority over the world and clamouring for the deaths of millions. As this story ably demonstrates, the truth is far from being that simple.

Completely engrossing with a poetic and extremely effective child-like narration, I fell well and truly under this book's spell to the point that the wonderful characters soon felt like real people (like Death, Rudy does something to me and I too think that I love him), and I soon found myself reading while the pages swam and I sucked in great, shuddering breaths.

I won't do the story justice by attempting to sum it up here, so I'll simply tell you it's one of the most powerful books I've read in a long while and implore you to pick it up yourself.

You should do so even more quickly now that the trailer has been released for the movie adaptation. Will they do it justice? Starring Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson, which gives me hope, the fact that it's apparently from the same studio that made Life of Pi makes me a little nervous (I should probably state here that I haven't actually seen Life of Pi yet as just the trailer alone made me want to vomit). The trailer for The Book Thief is far less shudder-inducing (right up until the voiceover) and is below - judge for yourselves.

For iPhone/iPad click here.

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