“Here is a small fact: you are going to die”
This is how our narrator, Death, starts his narration, and when death talks you have to listen. He walks us through this lyrical, poignant, heartbreaking, soul-shattering story disjointedly told by a nearly-omniscient – Death.
It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still. Liesel’s first act of book thievery takes place by her brother’s graveside, where her life is changed when she picks a single object partially hidden in the snow. This object is The Grave Digger’s Handbook, left there by accident by the men who buried her brother. From that point, begins Liesel’s love for books and words.
“Please believe me when I tell you that I picked up each soul that day as if it were newly born. I even kissed a few weary, poisoned cheeks. I listened to their last, gasping cries. Their vanishing words. I watched their love visions and freed them from their fear.”
Death is very busy, and yet he is strangely fascinated with one particular human, the titular book thief, a young German girl Liesel Meminger, Whose childhood is marked by war, But learns to love. She learns to love books and treasure them, and she rebels against the trend of people’s hearts hardening. She learns to cope and preserve herself against a world that is cruel and often tries to stomp out love and beauty. This book is the ode to those who kept their humanity in the middle of war, who were so human that nothing could ever change that.
“I guess humans like to watch a little destruction. Sand castles, houses of cards, that’s where they begin. Their great skills is their capacity to escalate.”
“I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.”
This book is beautifully surreal, with masterfully written language that reflects the alien, non-understandable, strangely fascinating nature of the narrator- Death.
“I am haunted by humans”
These are the closing words of this masterfully written book, and it is an instant classic that can even one day be taught in schools.