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The Book Thief | [Markus Zusak]

The Book Thief

It is 1939, Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still. By her brother's graveside, Liesel's life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger's Handbook, left there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordion-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings.
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Publisher's Summary

The award-winning novel that established Markus Zusak as an international brand.

It is 1939, Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still. By her brother's graveside, Liesel's life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger's Handbook, left there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery.

So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordion-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor's wife's library, and wherever there are books to be found. But these are dangerous times. When Liesel's foster family hides a Jewish fist-fighter in their basement, Liesel's world is both opened up, and closed down.

©2005 Markus Zusak (P)2012 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (207 )
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4.4 (192 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Carole Withane 02-28-15
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    21
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    "Great book, great move A W E S O M E audio book!!"

    Totally enraptured by this wonderful treatment of a great, very sad but- must-be-told 20th century tale.
    To hear the story from the narrators perspective, with his little asides and commentary and his insights, observations and lessons of the human condition just really bring this work to life.
    I loved it.
    A must hear for every one!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lyndie Lilydale, Australia 07-28-14
    Lyndie Lilydale, Australia 07-28-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Hate the narration"
    What would have made The Book Thief better?

    A different narrator


    What could Markus Zusak have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Ensured a better narrator


    How could the performance have been better?

    Infinitely better! It's like listening to over acting in a fourth rate play. I will read the book as I'm sure it is a great story


    What character would you cut from The Book Thief?

    Is the narrator a character ? I think so in the instance of audio. Loose the narrator


    Any additional comments?

    There are outstanding narrators, and even this one would be fine without the over acting!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sue 07-02-14
    Sue 07-02-14 Member Since 2013
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    2
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    "Outstanding!"
    What made the experience of listening to The Book Thief the most enjoyable?

    Narrator captured the characters perfectly.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Book Thief?

    The Word Catcher


    Which character – as performed by Dennis Olsen – was your favorite?

    Rosa! And Hans! And Leisal! And Rudi!


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Every part of it.


    Any additional comments?

    Best narrated book I've listened to - ever!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Samantha 05-06-14
    Samantha 05-06-14 Member Since 2014
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    7
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    "Best story ever!"
    Would you listen to The Book Thief again? Why?

    I'll listen to this again and again. I completely loved it. I'm addicted to it.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Book Thief?

    The love of Liesel to her adopted father & mother and Rudi Steiner and Max. Her loss was desperate. Her endurance amazing. Just gorgeous.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Absolutely. Couldn't "put it down".


    Any additional comments?

    Thank you and what a sensational author. Very moving. Thank you for enhancing my life with this wonderful tale.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lesley 04-19-14
    Lesley 04-19-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Superb listening experience"
    If you could sum up The Book Thief in three words, what would they be?

    Terrific book+wonderful narrator=best listening experience I have ever had.
    Dennis Olsen does the voice of death so well .


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Caylene J. Vincent Ballarat, Australia 04-03-14
    Caylene J. Vincent Ballarat, Australia 04-03-14 Member Since 2012

    UQH

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Over Rated!"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    No, it was a poor story actually, it finished leaving the reader up in the air. I hate this kind of endings


    Would you be willing to try another book from Markus Zusak? Why or why not?

    No, and I wouldn't get the DVD out to watch either


    Did The Book Thief inspire you to do anything?

    Not at all!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robin Kew, Australia 03-10-14
    Robin Kew, Australia 03-10-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Ruined by appalling narration"

    I could not finish this audiobook, in fact I endured only about an hour of it. I put up with that much hoping that it might better, but it didn't, so I gave up.

    Denis Olsen is a famous Australian actor and much loved for his Gilbert and Sullivan performances. But he utterly ruins this book. He seems to think that we, the listeners, want to hear him ham it up, using ridiculous vocal modulations and even an echo chamber.

    Good reading is an art. The narrator must first of all understand what he or she is reading, and then he or she must read the author's words in a way that simply conveys that meaning.

    The only reader I have heard in 20 years of regular listening to audiobooks is an AAAmerican called Charlton Griffin. I have learnt necer to buy anything read by him . Denis Olsen has joined that illustrious company.

    This book should be re-recorded by a narrator who can read properly.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ian C Robertson South Australia, Australia 02-10-14
    Ian C Robertson South Australia, Australia 02-10-14 Member Since 2010

    Eclectic mixer of books of my youth and ones I always meant to read, but didn't.

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    "It's Better than This"

    I very infrequently listen to something I have read that suffers from the reading. Unfortunately, I thought this was one of those occasions. Fortunately the substance of the book is good enough to rise above the let-down I felt on listening to it.
    The plot is really not that complex. Liesel is an orphan. She is relocated to the outskirts of Munich at the outset of WWII and billeted with Hans and Rosa Hubermann. She grows up playing soccer with her close friend Rudy Steiner and other boys and girls. She learns to steal food and necessities. She is a survivor. And she has one special vice; she steals books. When she begins, she can't read, but slowly she becomes the voice for the small community, reading in the air-raid shelters whilst the bombs fall tragically on Munich. In all of this she is supported by her step-father (Geoffrey Rush in the film version), an extraordinary man in a very ordinary way, and step-mother (Emily Watson in the film), the disciplinarian with a soft centre.
    However, it is the telling of this beautiful story that makes it. The little asides, Death as the narrator and the fun that does just enough to break the appalling mantle of loss and destruction. I surmise that this is why I didn't enjoy Denis Olsen's reading. It is not how I had read it, many times aloud, to myself.
    I am an admirer of Olsen's. He has long been a statesman of the Australian theatre, especially in Gilbert and Sullivan and Shakespearean roles; his King Lear is something to queue for. So, he has a classically trained voice which is very apt for some versions of Death, but is a bit sing-songy for me almost in every other way. This is made more so because he reads the parts (with feeling), he does not assume the characters (except Death).
    I struggled through the title because I knew how powerful the ending is. If you don't have the same reaction to the reading, you will no doubt love the title, because it is a wonderful story. Hopefully you pre-reading expectation will not get in the way of your enjoyment.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jenny Landsborough, Australia 02-07-14
    Jenny Landsborough, Australia 02-07-14 Member Since 2012
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    "Brilliant book - Frustrating narrator performance"

    The words and the story of The Book Thief makes this a book I will recommend to many. Markus Zusak's prose is brilliantly crafted.

    BUT THE NARRATION!!

    The large majority of the audio books I have are performed. I get it. But this narrator has interpreted the story according to his mindset rather than allowing me to 'read' it and make up my own mind.

    The 'sotto' voice used for Death is incredibly irritating when you listen to books while travelling as you cannot hear what is said.

    That said I love Dennis Olsen's voice - a voice that is truly a gift. I wish he had chosen to read the book and not interpret it. I have borrowed a hard copy so I can honour the writing better.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michelle Butler, Australia 01-28-14
    Michelle Butler, Australia 01-28-14 Member Since 2014

    Just love books.

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    "Great story, great narration"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Book Thief to be better than the print version?

    Yes. I have not read the print version but the narrator was fabulous and gave so much more to the story.


    What did you like best about this story?

    That it was told through the Grim Reapers eyes. Ingenious.


    Have you listened to any of Dennis Olsen’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No, but I would like to. He is an awesome narrator.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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