As I have honoured Markus Zusak’s work in my latest #sundaystory, I’d now like to give a ‘real’ recommendation for this book.
Attention! There might be some spoilers.
But this is going to be more of a personal story about this book.
So, let’s start at the beginning. As you might know by now, I study literature. That also means that you get a reading list at the beginning of the semester. This time it was The Book Thief that was – amongst other books and secondary literature – on the list. So, I read the description. “Set in World War II”, my reaction “ugh, again?!” (’cause we have been smashed dead and deaf with this topic in school), “It is told by Death”, my reaction “wtf, how much more depressing can it get?”, “584 pages”, my reaction “Oh, great, it’s not as if I had other plans or other texts to read during non-term, no prob”. I sighed and opened the book. First page. Let’s see what we’ve got to deal with here. I read the first page. And it got me. Like rarely any other book ever did! I devoured the book! I read on any occasion that offered itself, I was looking forward to continuing reading, I was amazed!
Really, I mean, how much more odds could stand against it and then it struck me like I haven’t encountered it in years of reading (and having to read due to the choice of studies).
The plot and its lessons are amazing, the characters so authentic and real and at the same time artistic. Against all doubts, Death turned out to make an amazing narrator, but moreover and more than anything else: The meta levels of the story and the true art of language that one can find in this book are absolutely worth studying, worth reading, worth thinking and talking about!
And that’s what we did, half the semester. And that’s what I did. I chose this piece of art as the topic for my exam.
So, recently I gave a talk in the frame of our student conference about “The Artificial Nature of Death in Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief” and I analysed the meta levels that offered themselves by making Death the narrator of the story. And the more I think about this topic, the more approaches enter my mind.
This story grabbed me and I could go on talking about this book, so, this is a real and honest recommendation:
If you want to read a book that bears the potential to touch you, to move you, to make you laugh, to make you cry, to make you shiver, that might grab you from the very first page and that is a true piece of art concerning the word choice and the narrative technique, get this book!
And if you’re going to read it now or if you have already read it, feel free to share your opinion with me and others. 🙂
And Mr Zusak, if you are ever going to read this: If you ever like to discuss your own work, feel free to contact me, I’d have so many questions and so many things to say. But for now, I will stick with a simple: Thank you so much for this piece of art!