The Book Thief traces the gradual encroachment of Nazism on the everyday life of the Hubermanns and other ordinary families like them. It shows the insidious nature of such control over personal freedom. The majority of the novel takes place in the fictional town of Molching, Germany, near Munich, between 1939 and 1943. Death narrates the story of Liesel Meminger, beginning when she is nine years old and suffering from the death of her brother and separation from her mother. download the The Book Thief summary, chapter-by-chapter analysis, book notes, essays, quotes, character descriptions
Markus Zusak was born in 1975. His work is published in the USA, UK and throughout Europe. He lives in Sydney. His children's books include the award-winning trilogy The Underdog, Fighting Ruben Wolfe and When Dogs Cry, and his book The Messenger attracted a crossover audience.
This is a novel about the power of words which act as a conduit for the writer's imagination and as a haven for the reader in the exploration of our deepest emotions and fears. It's a burning testament to how words can overcome adversity, but also to how they have in extreme circumstances been used to create fanatic hatred. It's about the tragedy of what happens to the human soul when the power to express or write words is taken away from it. It's about the redemptive and the destructive power of knowledge and of love. It's about the themes of death, hope, guilt, survival and redemption. It's about the fact that each and every one of us is haunted by our capacity for evil and our desire to do good. It shows that whilst words are an inspiring force in translating feelings, and in expressing the inexpressible, they can also destroy the very things we hold most dear – that they are ultimately one of the most powerful forces by which humanity transcends the physical, and attempts to describe the spiritual power of the imagination and the force of emotional connection which we have with each other. They help us to survive and to endure the loss of those who don't.
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