Rose's Reviews > The Book Thief

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
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Mar 01, 08

Read in November, 2007

This one is a classic. The first hundred pages are slow, but if you stick with it, you will find that it's a very powerful book. A lot of Zusak's family story is woven in here, at least in the small details, and it really grounds the book, despite Death being the narrator. And if you ever get a chance to hear Zusak speak, do!
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Dawn Did you hear him speak? Tell me about it!


Dawn Have you read any other Zusak books? If so, what did you think?


Rose I haven't read any of his other books, but I did hear him read the opening pages of I Am the Messenger. He did a four-hour workshop at a writing conference I went to in Munich. He's this incredibly humble guy who seems a little bewildered by all the attention his book has gotten. He's extremely smart, though, and obviously a great writer. One of the things he does is draw in as many real details as he can from life to give his writing a solid foundation. His dad was a house painter, for example, and he told a story about him, his brother and his dad that shows up in part later in one of his novels. (And I think the dad in The Book Thief is a painter?) Liesl is based on his mom and an experience she remembers as a six-year-old child in a Munich suburb. (He is Australian; his parents moved there after the war.) Another thing he talked about was to think up whatever the reader might be expecting as far as description or word choice or whatever, and give them something different (that still follows logically, of course). He really likes Michael Chabon (The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, which I haven't read) because he does this sort of thing.

My crit partner paid for an extra critique from him, and after seeing how much she got out of it, I wished I'd done it, too! But uh...I was poor...


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