Book Review: The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

If I had a bookshelf, The Book Thief would surely go to the top shelf where I would keep the best books I have read. I have been bored of reading books where the dominant mood is somber (or deathly) as the protagonist is going through many problems in his/her life. In this book too, the protagonist – Liesel – has her share of problems too, but the way her and her family’s life is depicted is anything but somber.

This book tells the story of an orphaned girl who goes to live with foster parents. She steals her first book en-route to their home, even though she does not know how to read. She learns reading, and steals many more books to satiate her hunger for the words. And all this happens is in the backdrop of World War-II, Liesel and her family are living in the Nazi Germany. Her family is one of the few who are compassionate to Jews, and they hide Max – a Jew – in their basement to do their bit for saving the Jews.

The writer has a strong hold over the reader very soon. I, for one, was completely lost in the book. Markus Zusak was making me laugh and cry at his will. Humour is hidden everywhere in this book, I was thoroughly captivated. The book is over 500 pages and never once was it a tedious read. And you always knew what is going to happen, the narrator – ‘Death’ – always started a new part with telling what happens in the end, and still I could read it without being bored or getting restless. If you have not read this book, I would strongly recommend it.

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11 Responses to “Book Review: The Book Thief – Markus Zusak”


  1. 1 neuron December 28, 2007 at 7:32 pm

    Yeah, I loved this book. This one had an unusual cover page which made me leaf through and there, it was written right on the first page:

    **Here’s a small fact**

    You are going to Die

    After reading this, I was like “Whoa! who talks like that?” and then I came to realize it was ‘Death’ which was narrating. Worth it.

  2. 2 pkj December 28, 2007 at 10:09 pm

    I’ll read it. But from your description it sounds much like Anne Frank’s Diary 😕

  3. 3 Kunal December 31, 2007 at 4:38 pm

    neuron, totally agree 🙂

    pkj, yeah there are similarities, but it is like comparing chalk and cheese. anyways, do read it 🙂

  4. 4 Sreejith January 7, 2008 at 1:47 am

    nifty review…now how did u pick this up!?

  5. 5 freebird212 January 9, 2008 at 2:14 am

    i have read this book and i LOVE it! it is so well written. it is one of the best book i have ever read, it’s a book i will have to read several times because it evokes so many different emotions and feelings. i have read anne franks diary and i must say it is nothing like that book at all. they have the same setting (they are both in germany during WW II) but not quite the same theme or topic. it has a quite new and interesting view of death and it makes you think.

  6. 6 Kunal January 9, 2008 at 5:53 pm

    Sreejith, had read about this book in some article … I was lucky to get one of the two copies that Odyssey had 🙂

    freebird, even I love the book .. it sure is amazing… totally agree with your comment..

  7. 7 Anatomist January 14, 2008 at 10:42 pm

    This sorrowful and choral novel, which uses a “graphic” style to tell what cannot be told, reminded me of the “illuminated” pages of Jonathan Safran Foer , who gives voice to the slightest white spaces… If you love “The Book Thief”, you’d better read “Everything is Illuminated” or “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” by Safran Foer: you’ll find yourself surrounded by the same atmosphere…

  8. 8 shahana February 13, 2008 at 6:20 pm

    loved the book…just finished it..

  9. 9 mark February 19, 2008 at 7:01 pm

    Read it last month and loved it..re-read it over the past few days and loved it even more. It’s not often a book like this comes along and when they do they should be cherished.

  10. 10 sarah March 22, 2008 at 9:19 am

    I’ve had this book for awhile – after going to a book club discussion about it. I was excited to read it (but had others in line before it).

    I recently finished it. It is exceptional. Great writing – beautiful story from a very clever (to say the least) perspective (narrator).

  11. 11 luna banerjee August 8, 2010 at 10:28 pm

    just finished reading the book n yes, im not done with it yet

    this book touched me as nothing has ever before

    i broke down n cried

    i lived n died with the characters


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