I am at my wit’s end. I am struggling to find words to write a book review of “The Book Thief”. My brain just went blank after I finished reading the novel. I don’t know what to say about the book. Maybe I have too much relaxation from my vacation. Oh well, you are excused if you find this review boring.
My review of THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak
Written by: Elisa English (Copyrighted)
Though written as children’s book intended for teens age 12 and above, “The Book Thief” is thought provoking, and the language is like invocation, so illuminating and powerful. It bewails human tribulation through Death itself, a companionable albeit satirical compeer, fascinated with human resilience yet haunted by humans.
The story, mostly unfolding as metaphorical abstraction with fascinating analogies and enlightening imagery, tells a long and winding tale about books’ ability to feed the soul and heal the wounds, so unforgettable and exquisitely written with Death as narrator, which masterfully foreshadowed the story. The use of Hitler's Mein Kampf is one, I find, of the greatest ironic metaphors of the novel. I especially like the book constructed by Death’s cogitation of the worth of humanity and Death’s inability to reconcile the traits of mankind of possessing concurrently both extraordinary barbarity and astounding empathy.
The writing is beautiful, poetic and simple. The story is profoundly moving and masterfully told. It demonstrates the beauty and ugliness of humanity. It talks about the lives under the ruling of the Nazis. I couldn’t help but think of the Cultural Revolution in China and the rulings under the Communists, the atrocities and barbarity alike. I thought of complacency, cowardliness, ignorance and indifference. I kept thinking of what Niemoeller said (…. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out-- because I was not a Jew; Then they came for me --- and there was no one left to speak out for me.) If you are interested, this is an article I wrote earlier talking about attitude. http://elisaenglish.pixnet.net/blog/post/639489
Though the story is achingly sad and at times unsettling, it is at the same time uplifting, revealing glimpses of the divine light at the end of the tunnel. That symbol of hope, strikingly unassailable, manifests itself in Liesel Meminger, who discovered kindness in midst of misery and found salvation through reading. This book is all about words, presented through books within books, and the story intertwines elements literally with colorful depictions narrated by Death. Throughout the novel, we witness the power of words. It was WORDS that Hitler and the Nazis used to spur violence and perpetuate prejudice and discrimination against the Jew. It was WORDS that consoled the grieving and assuaged the pain. It was WRODS that established friendship. And it was WORDS that bestowed a little girl, Liesel Meminger, with courage and vigor.
What else can I say? I am dumbfounded. This wasn't an easy read as I initially thought. I will wait for a few more years to read it to my son when he is old enough to understand the concept.
** 版權所有 – Elisa English