The Book Thief

The Book Thief

Book rating: 05 Paperback

By (author) Markus Zusak

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  • Publisher: Definitions
  • Format: Paperback | 592 pages
  • Dimensions: 124mm x 198mm x 40mm | 420g
  • Publication date: 3 January 2008
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 186230291X
  • ISBN 13: 9781862302914
  • Sales rank: 86

Product description

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 Meminger'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 foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor's wife's library, wherever there are books to be found. But these are dangerous times. When Liesel's foster family hides a Jew in their basement, Liesel's world is both opened up, and closed down. The Book Thief is a story about the power of words and the ability of books to feed the soul. In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.

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Author information

Markus Zusak was born in 1975 and is the author of five books, including I Am the Messenger and the international bestseller, The Book Thief, which is translated into more than forty languages. He lives in Sydney with his wife and two children.

Customer reviews

By Ashley Clouthier 24 Apr 2014 5

This is easily one of the most beautiful stories I've ever read. Heartbreaking and emotionally devastating, yes, but also incredibly touching and well written. Zusak has such a lyrical way with words I felt like I was being carried by the words rather than reading them. This might even be the first time I've laughed out loud reading a book, not because anything particularly funny happened but because of the sheer delightfulness of the scene. Anyone will love this story, and everyone should read it. Once I finished it I instantly started reading it again because even that felt better than having to accept that it was over and the world was so arrogantly continuing to turn. Basically, I fell in love with this novel. It deserves every bit of acclaim it received, if not more!

By georgia ryan 07 Sep 2013 5

What a magnificent book!
The writer creates and develops such rich and likeable characters that from the very beginning you are so hopelessly rooting for them. When they hurt, you hurt. And when they smile, you smile.
Isn't that the true mark of a great writer?

By Nursyazwani Jamaludin 07 Nov 2011 5

I bought this book after reading a review on book depository that the book was brilliantly written, and it was a book worth buying. Knowing that reviews can be highly subjective to one's preference and may not entirely reflect the brilliance of the book, I decided to still give it a shot since the plot of the book seemed highly intriguing (especially for a history geek like me). When the book finally arrived, I thought it would take me some time to finish reading it. However, as I started on the first page, I couldn't stop flipping to the next page, and the next, and the next that I finished it in just a few days or so. The author writes in such an engaging manner, manifesting his flair and the language really, is just, brilliant - full of expressiveness, words and sentences that do not seek to bore you. The plot is beautifully crafted, and there are parts in the story where I just found myself laughing out loud at the way the characters were described to be thinking, doing or saying. Overall, I would say it's a brilliant book that is worth the money that you'll spend on it. Especially if you're interested in storylines that are set against historical events.

By Pauline Tomlin 28 Aug 2010 5

It took me some time to complete this novel. At first I thought it was because I wasn't too captivated by it, however when at last I turned the final page and closed the back cover it was with the deepest regret. This book has everything the avid reader could want. Humour, the ongoing feud between Liesel's mother and her neighbour as well as the tricks that Liesel (our heroine) and her best friend Rudy contrive to relieve the harsh reality of life for a child in wartime are witty and vivid in their description. It is poignant and at times heart-wrenchingly sad. At others it rouses one's anger and you rail at the nonchalance of death and his musings (the story is narrated by death). Throughout you want the traditional Hero/Heroine-truiumphs-and-there-is-a-happy-ever however, Makus Zusak is no 'namby pamby' novelist and refuses to pulll his punches. you're left smarting and sobbing, yet strangely satisfied and longing for more a the same time. Zusak is A lexical master craftsman!

Review quote

"... a beautifully balanced piece of storytelling ... Unsettling, thought-provoking, life affirming, triumphant and tragic, this is a novel of breathtaking scope, masterfully told. It is an important piece of work, but also a wonderful page-turner" Guardian "Zusak's playfulness with language leavens the horror and makes the theme more resonant - words can save your life ... It's a measure of how sucessfully Zusak has humanized these characters that even though we know they are doomed, it's no less devastating when Death finally reaches them" Publishers Weekly "... this is a weighty novel worthy of universal acclaim ... A sense of dread prevades this beautifully written novel ... As The Book Thief draws to a close, Death says: "... There's a multitude of stories ... that I allow to distract me as I work." The story of the Book Thief, who tried to change the world in her own small way, proves one formidable and inspiring distraction" -- Lianne Kolirin Daily Express "... a moving work which will make many eyes brim" -- Marianne Brace Independent on Sunday "... it is certainly extraordinary, resonant and relevant, beautiful and angry" -- Lisa Hilton Seven - The Independent

Back cover copy

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still. Liesel Meminger's life is changed when, by her brother's graveside, she picks up an 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 foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor's wife's library, wherever there are books to be found. But these are dangerous times. When Liesel's foster family hides a Jew in their basement, Liesel's world is both opened up, and closed down. Narrated by Death, The Book Thief is a story about the power of words and the ability of books to feed the soul. Award-winning author MARKUS ZUSAK has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time. DEFINITIONS BOOK THIEF( ) a person who steals books or a young girl saved by words