Book Review: The Book Thief

TITLE: The Book Thief

AUTHOR: Markus Zusak

GENRE: Historical Fiction

Rating: 5 out of 5.

War is hell is the moral position of those who have to fight and win wars which they did not start.

The book Thief is set during the Second World War depicted through the eyes of Death. It’s about a German family caught in between the inevitability of war. And what does happen to the ones in the middle? It’s a story of the living circumambulated by monstrosity.

Every war has three sides. Rage and fear being the two most common sides are shared among the suppressor and the suppressed. The third side which is seldom acknowledged is love and Markus Zusak manages to emphasize this hidden jewel through his characters; characters who could be seen stealing moments of laughter from the mansion of terror.

Liesel Meminger, the protagonist, who amazed death by catching it in mid-act is the epitome of naivety. Oblivious to the atrocities of war, she walks around falling in love with books.

How hard could life get for someone who fell in love with words?

The orange flames waved at the crowd as paper and print dissolved inside them. Burning words were torn from their sentences

The book has a marvelous set of similes and metaphors floating in an ominous narration. The fact that this story reaches us through not the living but the one who watches us pass, is what gives it a fresh and a spellbinding outlook.

Just like there is no uncertainty to our end, similarly, there is no space for mystery in the story. Bitter wind blows in our face in the middle of a warm day warning us about an upcoming storm, and yet we embrace the sun for as long as we can.

The Book Thief is a juxtaposition of love and hatred, life and death, heaven and hell. It’s a book which shows us how to live among the chaos and not merely survive, to find moments of hope to keep us sane, to make us feel alive, how to find courage despite being terrified and most importantly how to love.

War is what gives this story its structure, whereas the characters, they fill the colours.

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