Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The Book Thief

I have written a lot lately about less-than-stellar books. Sometimes, though, I come across a book that makes me thank God I can read.

I am late jumping on The Book Thief bandwagon. The book has been receiving praise for months and recently came out in paperback, but I was slow to pick it up.

Now that I've finished, I find it difficult to describe what the book is about. Perhaps it is enough to say the story takes place in Nazi Germany and is narrated by Death. As Death explains, humans can be both beautiful and devastating to each other. I sobbed, heart-aching sobs, for the last 200 pages.

The book is long, 550 pages, and the writing dense. It is not a quick or easy read because of both content and style, yet I would not delete or alter a word of the text.

I haven't read such innovative writing since Jonathan Safran Foer's Everything is Illuminated.

Having death as a narrator is a bold gimmick that could have easily backfired. But Zusak's Death is eloquent and appealing. I feel a similar attachment and attraction to all the book's characters, a difficult feat to accomplish.

This review feels short, unfinished, and inadequate. But all I can really write is read this book.


Wanna-Be Lit said...

Okay, I must add this one to my long list.

Chris said...

Do you see this book becoming a feature film? Could they portray death as the narrator well enough in a movie?

Blogger said...

I will be interested in how this movie turns out. Perhaps Death could just do a voice over. In theory, the book is a young adult novel, but the content is very adult. I have a very difficult time imagining a faithful adaptation being rated anything less than R.