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)
I had very mixed feelings about this book and imagine I would have liked it more had I visually "read" the book, as opposed to listened to it on Audible.
No one can deny that it has some gripping moments, is VERY well-written, and is accessible and moving enough to become this generation's literary introduction to the Holocaust. As opposed to other tales from this genre, the book does not follow the life of a German Jew; rather, a (questionably) gentile German foster child. Thankfully, it manages to pay due justice to the horrors of the time both for the persecuted populations, while also capturing the difficulty of life for the "Aryan" citizens under Hitler's reign. The author uses some of the most creative sensory descriptions I have ever encountered, often daringly describing the tastes of colors, the sounds of visual perception, or the smell of an emotion.
THAT BEING SAID... Before you purchase the Audiobook, go to the Amazon.com "Look Inside" feature. The book is divided, rather charmingly, into paragraphs, small vignettes, sub-chapters, and asides. I would not have known to look at this, were it not for the sometimes choppy narration which clued me into investigating further. The listener misses out on illustrations, back referencing, understanding of a side note vs. a plot point, etc., from the text.
Additionally, to be perfectly honest, for the middle 60%, the story had me a bit bored. I imagine the literary tricks used in the visual text would have prevented my attention from drifting so much, thus increasing my engagement with the very poignant story as a whole.
What the listener DOES gain from the Audible is the lovely voice of the narrator, Mr. Corduner, who, as Death, shares the book with the conspiratorial yet affectionate tone reminiscent of Clarence Odbody in It's A Wonderful Life. While I wasn't the biggest fan of his (sometimes overdone) German accent in dialogue, his lyrical voice added a sense of majesty to the narrated portions,which I would have missed in the straight text form.
Yes, the narration is wonderful and the story is beautiful.
Death. He tells the story so well.
I would SO listen to this book again . . .and again . . . and again!!! The performance was breathtaking!!! The book was not simply read, it was narrated with such identifiable and clear character voices (never faltering) and I was swept totally away!
His narration was absolutely stellar! Simply worth of an award! I'd love to know what other books he's narrated! I would buy them simply because of him!
Death and Mama. Though I had a heart for the other main characters, it was that amazing heart behind Mama's hard exterior and the humanization of Death and enveloped me.
READ IT! Er . . .LISTEN TO IT!!!!
This is a wonderful book. I was initially put off by the device of Death as the Narrator, but this gave way to engagement with the characters and their lives. This is a period I have studied and read many books about. This gives another, bittersweet dimension to such an awful period. Allan Corduner is a superb narrator/actor. I much appreciated his many German accents and dynamic delivery. I have never written a review before, but this novel will stay with me for the rest of my life.
Re-listening to books is not something I typically do, but I would consider going back and giving this one a second ear. There is so much detail in the story that I feel like a second listen is justified to pick up all the beautiful detail.
"The Night Circus" is the first book that comes to mind. These two are completely different genres, I am well aware, but hang in there, I'll explain. The reason I'm comparing these two books is that the narrator did a wonderful job of telling these beautiful stories. Both books and narrators had me lost in the vivid descriptions that are beautiful and tragic at the same time. The narrators both made me feel like I was listening to a grandfather tell me a magnificent story, which sounds like it would be frustrating, but their voices were really enjoyable.
My favorite scene was when Liesel leaves the not for the Mayor's wife explaining herself and why she is a book theif.
I would love to take Liesel out to dinner. She's a little pistol. This girl endures so much hardship and just keeps bouncing back. I would love to hear more about her view on the world and also to listen to her stories.
I could not get into the book. Actually stopped after 2 chapters
Need a refund. Hope the movie was better
I love to read so much, but find it hard to sit down and get through a book anymore. Loving being able to listen to a story while busy.
Imaginative, sad, funny
Death's description of one Jew's soul he collected;"His soul was skinny. His beard was a ball and chain."This created a very vivid picture of the Jewish people's conditions during the Holocaust.
I had not heard Allan Corduner read before this. I certainly enjoyed the German and pronunciations throughout his reading. I undoubtedly would not have gotten the real feel for the language without his performance.
I haven't been this "in love" with a story's characters in awhile.
I enjoyed this book immensely. Though it seems to start out slow and almost difficult to follow, the narration slowly pulls you into a wonderfully woven story.
It is not at all what I expected from a Nazi Germany era story. So rarely do we hear stories from the average German citizen's perspective. Yet this one is so refreshing, honest and heart breaking.
I think this is one of those books that deserves to be heard, rather than read. The pace allows you to become wrapped up in Lisel's story. I especially loved the fable in the middle, at that point I was completely wrapped up in the book and hated for it to end.
This is a quiet time book and one that requires patience. But the message is so worth it.
Really gives tremendous insight into the German people who were caught in the Hilter madness of WW2
So true to life and mind expanding. Having just finished "Tale of Two Cities", I was especially understanding of the many decent German families that were destroyed by the NAZI's
Amazing!. Moves flawlessly between the American English and the German Language expressions and has outstanding vocal control to communicate the emotions in a most effective manner.
The Book Thief is good. "The Price of War" would be more descriptive.
Very heavy message but this is an extremely powerful, well written story with an extremely powerful narration.
Yes, It was amazing!
The story in itself is my favorite feature!
No, I have not listened to him before, but I would definately listen to him anywhere, he is quite talented!
Liesel Meminger was the most memorable but Death, Rudy, Papa etc were all memorable!!
Report Inappropriate Content