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The Book Thief

Book Recommended by Nitya Kamath

The Book Thief is a story that exudes beauty and brutality at the same time.

Set in the infamous Nazi Germany, the story is about a young German girl named Liesel Meminger who is sent to live with a foster family.

The narrator is none other than death himself. He is compassionate with a touch of humanity. Be warned, he is eventually coming for all of us but urges us not to be afraid!

Death takes us on a journey of the life of Liesel, as she grapples with hardships and the joys of growing up with her new family and her friend Rudy Steiner. She faces the peer pressure of conforming with Hitler’s ideologies but instead her unfortunate circumstances help her choose her own path as she forms her own beliefs.

Having been dealt a bad hand in life, her coping mechanism becomes stealing books. This gives her the title of “The Book Thief.” These books give her a sense of comfort and joy, but they also symbolise her resistance against the Nazi regime. 

Markus Zusak, the award-winning Australian author, does a stellar job at depicting the atrocities of World War II. It is refreshing to read it from the point of view of a young German who is not only a victim but also a survivor. It shows us the dark side of war in the eyes of a child. By personifying death and giving us his perspective, the author helps us understand how the war resulted in loss and suffering for everyone.