The Book Thief.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak takes place in Germany during the beginning of World War II. Nine-year-old Liesel is on a train with her brother and her mother to a foster family when she sees Death enter and realizes her brother is dead. By her brother’s graveside, Liesel steals her first book, The Grave Digger’s Handbook, which was dropped in the snow.
Death proceeds to narrate the next five years of Liesel’s life, and his overview makes for an interesting take on the war, Liesel’s life and love of words, her new parents and the Jewish man they are hiding in the basement, and Liesel’s best friend, Rudy.
Death notes the weariness war brings:
Five hundred souls.
The fallen hours of May 30.
I’m sure Liesel Meminger was fast asleep when more than a thousand bomber planes flew toward a place known as Koln. For me, the result was five hundred people or thereabouts. Fifty thousand others ambled homelessly around the ghostly piles of rubble, trying to work out which way was which, and which slabs of broken home belonged to whom.
I carried them in my fingers, like suitcases. Or I’d throw then over my shoulder. It was only the children I carried in my arms.
I loved The Book Thief and it broke my heart in little ways at the same time, in much the same way the story- out of so many others- stayed with Death the Narrator, who ends the book by saying, “I am haunted by humans.”