First published in 2005, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is a gloomy yet beautiful historical-fiction novel. It follows the story of Liesel Meminger, a young girl who loves and steals books to survive the destruction of World War II in Germany. Liesel’s invulnerable hope portrayed in the book has touched so many readers and as a result, the book has become a worldwide bestseller.
Cover and Details of The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (PDF)
- Title: The Book Thief
- Author: Markus Zusak
- Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
- Date Published: December 18, 2007
- Language: English
- ASIN: B000XUBFE2
Summary of the Book
After the death of Liesel’s young brother, Liesel arrives at the home of her new foster parents, Hans and Rosa Hubermann, distraught and withdrawn. During her time there, she is exposed to the horrors of the Nazi regime, caught between the innocence of childhood and the maturity demanded by her destructive surroundings. As the political situation in Germany deteriorates, her foster parents harbor a Jewish boxer named Max. Hans, who has developed a close relationship with Liesel, teaches her to read in secret. Recognizing the power of writing and sharing the written word, Liesel not only begins to steal books that the Nazi party is looking to destroy, but also writes her own stories, and shares the power of language with Max.
Reviews of The Book Thief
“Brilliant and hugely ambitious…Some will argue that a book so difficult and sad may not be appropriate for teenage readers…Adults will probably like it (this one did), but it’s a great young-adult novel…It’s the kind of book that can be life-changing, because without ever denying the essential amorality and randomness of the natural order, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (PDF) offers us a believable hard-won hope…The hope we see in Liesel is unassailable, the kind you can hang on to in the midst of poverty and war and violence. Young readers need such alternatives to ideological rigidity, and such explorations of how stories matter. And so, come to think of it, do adults.” —New York Times
“Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief is unsettling and unsentimental, yet ultimately poetic. Its grimness and tragedy run through the reader’s mind like a black-and-white movie, bereft of the colors of life. Zusak may not have lived under Nazi domination, but The Book Thief deserves a place on the same shelf with The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank and Elie Wiesel’s Night. It seems poised to become a classic.” —USA Today
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