Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief first graced our shelves in 2005, and I am glad that the wonderful story will be rekindled once again with a film adaptation, from the studio that brought us Life of Pi, to be released in late February. I am a huge fan of stories told by unusual narrators, and The Book Thief’s narrator is possibly one of the strangest. It is set during Nazi Germany, a time the narrator, Death himself, was extremely busy.
We follow the emotional journey of Liesel, a young girl with hair a shade close enough to the ‘brand of German blonde’ and dangerously brown eyes, and her relationship with her new foster parents. A lover of books, but unable to read, Liesel is taught by Hans Hubermann, her papa, to embrace literature and develop a passion for ‘borrowing’ books from the mayor’s impressive library. She learns to find solace in stories, as a method of escaping from the horrors unfolding in the world outside, the darkness of which she is only just beginning to understand.
The story soon takes a dangerous and exciting turn, when the Hubermann’s begin to hide a Jewish refugee, Max, in the basement of their home. Unable to leave for fear of his safety, Liesel and Max bond over their love of stories and fantasy.
A wonderful story of danger, escapism and human affection, The Book Thief is undoubtedly one of my favourites, and it was unsurprisingly listed on The New York Times Best Seller list for an impressive 230 weeks.
I am waiting with baited breath for the film adaptation, and fingers crossed it portrays this wonderful story well, and does the literary masterpiece justice.
Check out the trailer here.