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godz. - 11:27

"The Book thief"


It is likely that everybody at some point in their lives, for sure before their high school exams, touched on the subject of war and concentration camp literature. These books were not easy. I do not know anybody who has read them without emotion and astonishment close to terror that human beings can do such terrible things to other people.


War lectures might be different. Some are deeply rooted in difficult history and are presented almost naturalistically. Others treat reality as a backdrop to fictional goings-on. I would place "The Book thief" by Markus Zusak somewhere in between. The book tells us about the Holocaust but relates these tragic times in a remarkable way, because the author gives the narration to ... Death.


The book starts in 1938 when the main character Liesel drives by train to Molching close to Munich where she will live with a foster family. This trip will leave a shadow on the child's delicate psyche. The girl lives in dangerous times marked with pain, separation and loss. Only books and friendly people make those times a little more colorful. Liesel's life is changed not only by books, which she steals almost habitually and perfectly, it is also changed by a young Jew called Maks, thanks to whom she learns she has a gift for changing thoughts and dreams into amazing words.


"The Book thief" is today a worldwide bestseller and is the basis for a movie with the same title. It was voted "Children's Bestseller of 2008" as well. I have to admit however that in my opinion I can say everything good about this book but not that it is a book for children. Though I like the movie very much, I think it was lacking the huge emotions which Liesel went through having been thrown into a strange world. Sometimes she acts in a completely dispassionate, emotionless way in front of some horrible scenes. I understand that it is more difficult to show it on film, but the biggest riches of "The Book thief" are feelings and the girl's reflections as she discovers a passion which gives meaning to her life despite extremely unfavourable conditions.


I do recommend the book and the movie, but in this order. I would like you to know the touching story of Liesel and later see how it was pictured by Brian Percival. You can decide for yourself which has the stronger effect on you.

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