My Train of Thought Just Derailed.


This started as a late-night post (I seem to be making this a habit) and became unfinished. I believe I owe “my public” a good review.

In any case, I feel I should mention excellent books that I have not read recently, and therefore, haven’t gotten the chance to review since I began as NovelDame:

On the top of that list is The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak. This World War II-era story of Liesel Meminger is narrated by Death himself, who prefers to remember things as color. From the time this nine-year-old is taken to live in Molching, Germany with a foster family, the child arrives having just stolen her first book–although she has not yet learned how to read. Her foster father uses it, The Gravediggers Handbook, as a way of comforting her to sleep and coaxing the nightmares away. Across the late 1930s and into the 1940s, Liesel collects more stolen books and friends, equally unique: the boy Rudy, the Jewish refugee Max, and the mayors reclusive wife (who has a whole library from which she allows Liesel to steal). “Death is not a sentimental storyteller, but he does attend to an array of satisfying details, giving Liesel’s story all the nuances of chance, folly, and fulfilled expectation that it deserves.”

It invites us to look back on that dreadful period as more than just people trying to survive, and forces us to take note of a little girl who learns to read and to love, to steal and to live, and to learn that such things are intricately connected. As morbid as the narration by Death is, it becomes appreciated after all the emotional knots Liesel puts the reader into, and bids us goodbye with memories to look back on fondly.

Published in: on December 14, 2007 at 7:44 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. I also enjoyed The Book Thief. It is a beautifully written book despite the pain of the stories that are being told. I found the personification of death to be oddly comforting. Hmmmm, now that I think about this, the book was a bit Ingmar Bergmanish (Swedish film director) but with some humor. I loved Liesel and her mother and father were great characters as well!

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