The performance by Allan Corduner is beyond fantastic. He is mesmerizing as the narrator, his voices for the characters are perfect, and he helps bring this incredible book about words to life.
Usually I'd write a meaty review, but I honestly don't have the words to describe this novel, it is beyond anything I'm capable of saying about it. If you haven't read this book, you must read it. If you have read this book, you know why.
No, the book was too slow. I didn't prefer it and couldn't even get to the end.
That it was written from Death's viewpoint. Original
Papa. Kind, humane, compassionate, unafraid in face of great challenges
Voice and emotion
We read to know, we are not alone ~ C.S. Lewis
So I was late to the party again with this title, and actually my initial assumptions about this being ‘yet another’ story of Nazi Era Germany. Honestly, the perspective and construct of this story is so unique and different, that it has been added to my list of ‘your child should read/ see’ this list of books and films that I believe provide a perspective on history that is often lacking in textbooks.
Firstly, the main narration is provided by death. Yes, Death. His retelling of the story, providing a perspective that ranges from ‘oh what fools these mortals be’ to actual moments where his occupation feels like a burden. A rather tricky narrator to be sure, but Zusak uses the character to full effect, giving a sense of foreboding without being maudlin. In the audio format, the narration of Allan Corduner is simply spectacular, as he adds the emotional component to Death’s character, a sense of ennui with a been-there-done-that touch of boredom, while never seeming to take delight in the harvesting.
When the blurb says it is just a ‘small story really’, that wholly discounts the joys within: From Liesel and her Papa’s relationship, her slow discovery of the joys within books and her covetous desire to have books, to her friend Rudy who is determined to become Jesse Owens: there is love and loss and innocence shattered. Focusing on just a small group of people who are surviving and existing despite horrible circumstances.
This combination of author and narrator is what all audio versions should strive to be: Zusak has bent, twisted, combined and placed words with such care that they seemingly could not have been used any other way. Adding Allan Corduner, a British actor to narrate the book was a genius move: his ability to massage the words and bring forth their meaning and subtext without overarching emotive emphasis, and his facility for accent and voice give each of the characters a distinct appearance that couldn’t be anything else. It is truly a treat to find narration that so perfectly suits the text, and brings the emotion of the moment to the forefront, enhancing the listen.
I am on my fifth listen of this story: each one brings a new element forward, making me see more of the story than I did the time before, and it never gets old. That is, for me, a signal that this is an important story: one suitable for high school aged readers, although some mature middle grade readers may find the story attractive. As always, with every book that deals with the more unsavory facts of human behavior, I would suggest that parents take a listen or a read of the title as well: surprisingly despite the setting, there is a solid hopeful thread that manages to follow the book from beginning to end.
I purchased an Audiobook copy of the title for my own library. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
A working mom that loves to read but has not time to sit and enjoy a good story...so I listen and LOVE stories of ...
Absolutely! I already have recommended this story to my beautiful and accomplished veracious reading Grandmother.
The boy with the straw colored hair...and the man who plays the accordion...the ornery and foul mouthed pea soup cooker...the artist in the basement...the determined young girl with a need to steal books...the public official's wife who misses her son...
When the determined young reader intentionally hurts herself to be forced to be excused from a game of soccer to warn the family and the artist in the basement that the house was to be searched...selfless and honorable.
Yes I cried...Yes i smiled to myself as I drove to work...
Yes, I would recommend this book without reservation.
Death as the narrator.
Phrasing and German pronunciation.
I laughed and cried. Even when Death tells you chapters ahead that tragedy will strike, Zusak's prose brings you to tears anyway.
I cannot imagine - I could not get through the first chapter, and cannot remember another book where that was the case.
It is hard to put into one category what made the book most enjoyable. The characters were so incredibly rich. The beautiful relationship between Leisel and her foster father was an unexpected treat to witness.
Leisel. Her fortitude and grace will stay with you long after you finish this book.
Probably when Leisel sees Max after he is taken away
Those first nights when her foster father cares for her so unconditionally when she is scared and first brought to their home.
I cannot recommend this book enough. It brings such a human element to the suffering of that time period and how each person's experience with War is so completely unique as are the ways different people rise to face the challenges and loss that war brings about. It is also a book about hope, though not in a fluffy, happy ending sense. It is about hope when most would never see hope.
I sure would recommend this book! The story is without doubt, a full featured one that never leaves the reader/listener wanting. Great descriptive phrases and imagery marking every paragraph with richness.
Death, or maybe the soul retriever is a better name, was the central character for me. His narrative was the thread that kept the story flowing in perfect sync.
Not that I recall. Corduner's reading of this book was sublime however and he managed to make each character come alive through nuances and inflections.
I don't recall an extreme reaction to the story other than in the first few pages when "death" began the narrative. I was nervous as to how this was going to unfold and whether or not to continue. I am so glad I stuck with it as the book is quite marvelous and well done.
It's easy to see why this is still high on the best seller list. I'll probably listen to it again at some point for the sheer enjoyment of revisiting all the characters once again.
I enjoyed the historical element to this story, and the characters.
The book is moving, it is moving to read about the way the war effected the families in Germany.