“It’s not the end that matters but the journey it takes”. This statement has never been truer than in the book “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak. Because, when death starts telling the story, it begins from where it all ends. And, yes, it’s narrated by none other than death; that dark figure with black hood and a scythe (though (s)he claims (s)he never carries a scythe). And when death tells you a story, you really have to listen! (quoted right out of book).
Set with the background of Adolf Hitler’s Germany, we follow the journey of Liesel Meminger (aka the book thief) as the world war II creeps into her life. Set with a unique blend of story-telling, simple moments and streaks of melancholy, this had me hooked right from the start. I’m sure few people might be turned off for the exact reason.
But, if you are among the people who might get hooked, what a journey you are signing up for! We feel Liesel’s nightmares and daydreams, rebellions and thievery, love and sorrows, embarrassments and anger (and, ouch, the punches!). We see her grow from the girl who wakes up in the middle of the night with wet bed and never-ending nightmare to the girl who is the comfort of dozens of people hiding out in basements as the town is bombed away. But its not a story of that change. But much much more. This book is not meant to inspire you. But rather to make you feel humane; and maybe to make you give book thievery a try!
One of the interesting elements have been that we know who are all going to die, way before that actually happens. That leaves one with this uneasy feeling that’s a bit hard to digest. Maybe, that’s the way death feels too as it carries away their soul!
In the end, this is the kind of book that haunts you long after you are done with it; but not in the way you would expect it to. For example, Hunger games - Mockingjay left me with deep sorrow that took weeks to get over. May be its just me but the book thief hits different. The closest feeling I know is melancholy but except that it is not the sadness that prolongs. Instead of making you crash hard into feelings, it glides and sets you down gently. And this can only be attributed to the extra ordinary story telling by Markus Zusak. I loved it.