Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak's groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can't resist: books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids - as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.
This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.
©2006 Markus Zusak; (P)2006 Random House Inc. Listening Library, an imprint of the Random House Audio Publishing Group
"The astonishing characters, drawn without sentimentality, will grab readers." (Booklist)
"Zusak has created a work that deserves the attention of sophisticated teen and adult readers....An extraordinary narrative." (School Library Journal)
"The Book Thief will appeal both to sophisticated teens and adults with its engaging characters and heartbreaking story." (Bookmarks Magazine)
The narrator of this audiobook was phenomenal! Very authentic! Although is is a very bleak subject, the narrator keeps the story from being unbearably heartwrenching.
My favorite character was the narrator, Death. The idea to have Death narrate this story provides us with a very unique and clever perspective. Who knew Death was such a charming, kind and likable gentleman? It goes against every stereotype we have of Death! He is wise, kind and compassionate. Death does not want people to die. Death does not cause people to die. Death exists only because people do die. It is Death’s neverending job to carry away a person’s soul after it has separated from the body. Death jumps right past foreshadowing and lets us know ahead of time which characters will die, this really alleviates a lot of the agonizing dread and distress of the subject matter.
What a unique and creative book! I could not put it down. This story is told in masterful, beautiful language, surreal metaphors and lush imagery that held me completely captivated. Language plays such a very important role in this story. When the story starts, the main character, Liesel, a young Jewish girl, is illiterate. As she slowly learns to read, books offer her a much needed escape from her suffering and misery. Alternatively, Liesal is enlightened with a new understanding of the destructive power of words, most notably Hitler’s hateful speeches of bigotry and destructive propaganda. Words hold a remarkable power; positive and negative. Books that are opposed to Hitler’s viewpoint are burned in celebratory book burnings. In many ways, the Nazi Holocaust began with hateful, destructive, racist words. Hitler's words manipulate and compel entire Nations to hate Jews, commit unspeakable acts cruelty and to massacre millions of people. On the flip side, words can also heal, inspire compassion, love and understanding. It all depends on how you use your words. Words eventually inspire Liesal to tell her own story which cultivates goodness and love. Where Mein Kampf is the source of misery, death, concentration camps and war, The Book Thief is the gift of hope, compassion, kindness and resilience in the struggle to rise above circumstances when life feels unbearably heartbreaking and harsh.
I love listening to books when cycling, paddleboarding, etc but I press pause when I need to concentrate. Its safer & I don't lose the plot!
This book didn’t quite live up to its billing, but was a very good listen nevertheless. I always struggle to know where to look for fiction, and I chose one this on the back of its being a best seller.
The character who narrates this book is death. He tells the story of a young girl orphaned by the political turmoil in Nazi Germany, who is then fostered by a Munich housepainter and his wife. They are simple, unsophisticated working class folk who swear at each other constantly, but underneath this rough exterior is a deep well of love and courage, the courage to risk their lives by sheltering a Jewish man in their basement.
So why is it called the book thief? The heroine, Lisa (forgive the spelling, I didn’t see the written name), begins by being illiterate and gradually develops into an avid reader. But books are scarce in this time of immense upheaval, poverty and strife. Not just scarce but also dangerous to own, and she rescues them from the burning bonfires of books lit by the Nazis in their rampant, frenzied campaign to enforce their ideology onto their people.
It’s a sad and moving story of a young girl trying to grow up in this bizarre and dangerous environment. Germany is locked into a war against the rest of the World, a war which they are starting to lose. All men, young and old, are susceptible to conscription to fight in Russia, the remaining civilians face the threat of increasingly frequent Allied bombing raids, and Jews are being transported to concentration camps. Against this background Lisa somehow enjoys some of the ordinary experiences of childhood and early adolescence, but you know all along that this small community, like the rest of Germany, is doomed and that there will be few survivors.
I love books!
Death says, "I am haunted by humans". First time author for me, this book was recommended by my wife whose book club read it. Both my kids have already read this one. This is a great story and really well written. Set near Munich, Germany during World War II, it's the story of a young German girl and how the war affected her. It's easy to forget that not all Germans supported Hitler and the Nazis but they still had to toe the line and support what was happening around them, if they didn't, they did so at their own peril. With destruction and death all around, you had to look for happiness as best you could. And, for those of us that love books, it's great the way the author weaves the love of books into this tale. A lot of this book is depressing but if you don't mind having your heart strings pulled a bit, you'll really enjoy this story.
There's a reason most reviewers are giving this book such high ratings. This book was so beautifully written, and so wonderfully narrated, it certainly ranks as one of my top five audio books. This book makes me marvel at the talent that some people have for writing.
I did not want to stop listening to this book for one minute. When it was over I cried simply because it was over. I could go on and on about every wonderful aspect of this book. But in the end, I need only say that this is one to listen to and one to remember.
When I think of Liesel saying the word "Papa"' I still feel a flood of emotions.
Married mother of three teenagers, back to work after 15 years at home - when I read a lot. Now I am the assistant to the Mayor of Omaha and work at least 60 hours a week, and on top of what I have to do at home - no more books. This lets me listen to the classics, the latest, whatever I want. I can learn or escape. I have always love audio books, but now I NEED them.
I love WWII history and historical fiction, whether in books or movies because there is just SO MUCH emotional material to work with. This is no exception. This is not an extraordinary tale of heroics, or a romantic tidal wave, or even a great exploration of the war. It is the story of one girl, her family, friends, and experiences as told by the most present character of the era...Death. The Grim Reaper is our narrator, and all is told through his view. No spoilers, for there are times when you will gasp in surprise - for good and for bad. This is worth your time and credit.
Not really.Perhaps a bit more clarity at times. I had to backtracked to make sure the image in my head was the same was what was found in the text.
No, but he was outstanding in this performance.
No. Perhaps a prequel. Perhaps the same story from another perspective. Not that I didn't like the idea as Death as the narrator, just that perhaps I'd like to hear the story from another's point of view too. A contrast would be interesting.
I have been an avid Audible listener since the company started. I long ago lost track of my number of listens. Some have been dismal,some just OK and many excellent and entertaining. I must say this one goes beyond my expectations! I owned it for several years and just did not get into listening. Then recently I started to listen again and was thrilled. This book made me laugh and cry and really care about the characters. The narration is more than awesome. Give yourself an hour of time into this and you will be so pleased!
loves books. writes music. writes stories. loves movies, and talks aloud to his dog.
well written and full of great quotes - "There's only one thing worse than a boy who hates a girl...A boy who loves a girl" Read by Allan Corduner in a most playful, dramatic, and entertaining tone the listener will not be disappointed. This Markus Zusak can write.... This reviewer only wishes for more.
I'm a grad student with very little time to edit reviews because I'm editing research papers. Forgive the typos. They're made with love.
This book blew me away. As a thirty-year-old researching young adult novels, I can not believe I stumbled across this treasure. It makes the other writers seem amateur. The combination of POV, the wonderful narration by Allan Corduner, and the journey this young girl takes... the result is stunning. I read that it was originally an adult book in Australia, but I think teens that are well read can benefit from reading (listening to) this.
Much of this novel is taken from stories Zuzak's mother told him. Random House has a page where Zuzak retells a story about his mother running up the street to see Jewish people being marched to Dachau and how a boy offered an old man some bread. The man was whipped then so was the boy. This of course made it into the book as well as a number of other instances and the way they are interwoven throughout Leisel's life as told by Death himself is very well done.
A young girl lives with her foster family in Nazi Germany. She befriends another troublemaker and together, furing the span of the war, they deal with hunger, being forced into Nazi service, hiding a Jew, and the usual torments of transitioning into a teenager, all while bombs drop around them. When the book starts, Leisel doesn't know how to read, but books become treasures to her, and when she reads in the designated basement while bombs drop around their town, its the equivalent of listening to a good narrator on an audio book. She has a way with words.
I like that Death told this story. It gave it the perfect feel. And I don't mind the length - I became so engrossed that by the end I actually cried while on a road trip. Not many books can do that to me. I'd recommend this to anyone, but tho Leisel is a girl, I would recommend parents read and decided if their children can handle this. Maybe 13 and up... mature 13 and up.
This book proves that it is difficult to write a good book about a halfwit orphan growing up in NAZI Germany. It has the flavor and starkness of depression-era and post-war German fiction. I gave up half-way through -- perhaps it got better.
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