Just moved this into my Top Ten. (Have some cutting to do now, since my Top 10 list in now 11). This book floored me. Written by Colum McCann as part...moreJust moved this into my Top Ten. (Have some cutting to do now, since my Top 10 list in now 11). This book floored me. Written by Colum McCann as part love letter to the broken, dirty, ragged, yet evolving New York City (and its people) as well as a modern day allegory (Corrigan the Monk is a modern St. Francis, i.e., at one point Corrigan gives some Irish homeless men his father's clothes on the streets of Dublin. Ring. Ring. Story of St. Francis calling!). There were so many tips of the hat, playful bits of language, and moments of utter clarity, I want to start it all over with a notebook nearby to take notes from the master. McCann fully inhabits the voice of each of his exquisitely formed characters. I didn't want the book to end--but had the feeling that when it did end it wouldn't really be over because the characters will be with me forever. August 7, 1974--the new Bloomsday. Or should say Petitsday. There's a new Irish writer holiday to celebrate!!! Love this book. McCann is my new favorite Irish writer. (less)
Oh my gosh, I loved this book. I am headed to my book club tonight, so I want to get my feelings down before they're either "tainted" or "colored" by...moreOh my gosh, I loved this book. I am headed to my book club tonight, so I want to get my feelings down before they're either "tainted" or "colored" by what others think or feel about it. (I know, I know: No self-respecting reviewer lets others' opinions determine his/her own. Right.) Still I don't want anyone's negative comments to rain on my parade.(There are always the "haters" in every group. I know, because I have been among them at times). So in anticipation of that: I want it to be known there is nothing, absolutely nothing to hate in this book. It's brilliant. The writing is so fresh (who knew "pimples grew in peer groups" or that "Death" had a soft side and could tell a damn good story?) The characters are so memorable, so real, so alive, that I full envisioned every single one of them. I fell in love with dear Rudy and Liesel and Papa and Max––and most of all, Death. I was sad to see them all go when I turned the last page.
Holocaust stories are not all the same--true some are better than others. This is one of the best. And I don't care how many stories about the Holocaust there have been, will be or are currently being written, (there could be 6 million for all I know), but it would never be enough. Ever. No there could never be enough to replace the 6 million lives lost. I still don't think we humans can learn enough or ever truly know, ever truly understand the horrors caused by the words and ideas of a fellow human being and all those who stood by and watched and let it happen. To those who didn't and to those who came before Mark Zusak--Wiesel and Frank, for starters--I am eternally grateful that word by word, they "stole" back what Hitler took with his words and actions, namely dignity, hope, love, and life. Yes, The Book Thief steals them back one word, one character, one page at time. It's a treasure.
I would recommend this book to EVERYONE--from high school on up. (It's technically a YA novel). I am going to complete my Nazi Germany trifecta (finished Sarah's Key before this) with In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson next. (less)