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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)2006 Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Producer Heather Steen.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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    5
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Performance

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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    51
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    15
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    9
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    6

Story

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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    58
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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Michelle
  • Perth, Western Australia
  • 01-28-14

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.

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  • Graeme
  • Sydney, Australia
  • 01-27-14

Wonderful book, frustrating audiobook

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, it has some wonderful turns of phrase, engaging characters and manages to be quirky and heavy in equal measures.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Hans - he handles a hard life and challenging times with admirable dignity.

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

The narration is wonderful BUT, the audiobook has one very large flaw. In the written version of the book, the narrator (death) will sometimes talk in asides, which are written in italics. In the audiobook, these asides are whispered and buried in echo and are often impossible to hear or understand. How the producers let this happen is mystifying and it really disrupts the flow of the story.

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

1. When Death steps on the picture of Hitler.2. When Death describes how Rudi makes him cry.

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  • Luc
  • Auckland, New Zealand
  • 12-30-13

Magnificent in every aspect

Would you consider the audio edition of The Book Thief to be better than the print version?

The narration is exquisite - mesmerising and equal to the beauty of the written word.

Any additional comments?

This is a must read for all ages - everyone from everywhere would benefit from this story.

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  • Jo
  • Holland Park West, Australia
  • 12-03-13

An Amazing Story Through Death's Eyes

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Absolutely. It is well written, engaging - a beautiful story with a beautiful way of being told.

What did you like best about this story?

Everything.

What does Dennis Olsen bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Oh he portrayed Death beautifully. When I heard about it I thought it would be a difficult story to pull off, and even more so to read allowed, but Dennis Olsen was seamless.

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

Yes.

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  • Performance
  • Story

Incredible concept

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

This book was broken into a large number of small chapters which made it fast yet interesting . the characters were brought to life by the narrator and the authors style was outstanding. Set in a small German town before and during the 2nd world war Zusak produces a very plausible atmosphere. Death is our narrator (and hero) and Olsen is masterly with his timing and characters. This is a very pleasant book (despite the subject) and I recommend it to you

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  • Tammy
  • Tasmania, Australia
  • 05-16-13

Fantastic read

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, a really engaging story with great naration

What other book might you compare The Book Thief to and why?

The Street Sweeper

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

No, I enjoyed it in several chapter pieces

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  • nerida
  • melbourne, Australia
  • 03-04-13

Wow ! Very powerful

What did you love best about The Book Thief?

It took me a while to get used to the style of the writing and the narration but once I did I really appreciated listening to something quite different to anything else I had listened to. I loved the fact that sometimes it was so powerful I had to just stop what I was doing and just listen.

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

I haven't listened to Dennis Olsen before but I will definitely look into it ! He was very theatrical and once I got used to it, I fell in love with him. He added so much to the listening-his last line sent shivers down my spine and I couldn't stop thinking about it all day.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Lots of extreme reactions the whole way through the book.

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  • Janine
  • Shepparton, Australia
  • 02-05-13

Beautiful Literature

If you could sum up The Book Thief in three words, what would they be?

Beautifully written & moving

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

The whole book is beautifully crafted and moving however the ending is particularly good.

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  • Kathryn
  • Killara, Australia
  • 02-04-13

Gripping audible book read in a weekend!

Where does The Book Thief rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This was my first audio book. I wasted a lot of time before finally downloading it to my ipod but it was worth it. I read the book while ironing, making rumballs, and other mindless household tasks. I have never read a book in a weekend but as I was doing household tasks felt justified to read it hours at a time.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The adopted mother, Rosa was a strange one and difficult to fathom, brutal yet unwavering in her role as mother. Yet as the story unfolded she demonstrated some of her good sense.

What about Dennis Olsen’s performance did you like?

Easy listening with short German passages translated put the reader in the time and place.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

War in Nazi Germany is a very emotional subject, the author in presenting life at that time cerainly evoked emotion in parts.

Any additional comments?

I haven't mastered the technology of an audible book. There are parts of the book I would like to go back and re read however it is hard to flick back. I made an effort to concentrate because I couldn't go back.<br/>Overall I really enjoyed the audible book experience and will select another soon.

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  • Performance
  • Story

interesting and engaging

the story captured me right from the start. it is touching, engaging , intelligent and an excellent piece of writing


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  • Hamish
  • 11-18-16

one of the best books ever

I loved it, it's a crazy story to think the world was it such a state many years ago.

  • Overall
  • Leanne
  • 10-27-16

yuck.

i didn't enjoy this book at all. for once the movies was better than the book.

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  • Natalia
  • 08-16-16

Such a great book

Really good narration.
Sent shivers down my spine during some bits. The narration was very well done.

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  • Gordon
  • 07-25-16

Great story and narration. Accordion punctures the brilliance

This is a wonderful book and excellently read. My sole complaint is that each of the 96 chapters has jarring accordion music played. I understand the publishers may have felt this meshes with The plot but it makes it very difficult to relax and listen.

My chagrin is particularly strong as I often set the timer to listen to the books at night before sleep. If I fall asleep then I simple go back Agee minutes in the morning. The accordion would brusquely wake me up. It would be great if they would publish without the unnecessary music.

Those how listen solely in the car may not have the same issue.

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  • Caroline
  • 06-22-16

Great listening

Took a little to get used to the narrator, but once I did I loved it. Well read, great story

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  • Jacqui
  • 04-25-16

The perfect narration

Dennis Olsen gives a perfect characterisation of death to complement such a beautifully written story. I'd highly recommend this audiobook to anyone!

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  • Mary-Alice
  • 04-04-16

great performance

the narrator did a really good job. His variation in speed and whispering/echoing effect added to the effect but made it quite difficult to hear when I listen on my commute and while walking around the city with lots of other competing noises!

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  • Dian
  • 05-21-15

Fabulous read.

I saw the movie first, then listened to the book. I wasn't disappointed with either, in fact I then watched the movie again and noticed so many details I hadn't seen before. Both compliment the other. A great read.

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  • Mario
  • 05-19-15

An amazing book

This book actually got me back into reading (listening) after a period of a few years simply despising them. Thanks Book Thief

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  • Kathleen
  • 03-23-15

Wow

Oh my god. I've just finished it. I'm weeping. Started strangely but quickly became addictive. A beautiful story set in a horrible time in history.