The Book Thief

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about the novel. For the film adaptation, see The Book Thief (film).
The Book Thief
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak book cover.jpg
1st Edition front cover
Author Markus Zusak
Illustrator Trudy White
Cover artist Colin Anderson/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images
Country Australia
Language English, German
Genre Novel-Historical Fiction
Publisher Picador, Australia; Knopf, US
Publication date
2005(Australia); 14 March 2006 (worldwide)
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 550
ISBN 978-0-375-84220-7
OCLC 183612599
LC Class PZ7.Z837 Boo 2007

The Book Thief is a novel by Australian author Markus Zusak. First published in 2005, the book has won numerous awards and was listed on The New York Times Best Seller list for over 230 weeks.[1]

Plot[edit]

The Book Thief is a novel that centers around the life of Liesel Meminger, a nine-year-old girl living in Germany during World War II. Liesel's experiences are narrated by Death, who details both the beauty and destruction that life in this era brought.

After her brother's death, Liesel arrives in a distraught state at the home of her new foster parents, Hans and Rosa Hubermann. During her time there, she is exposed to the horror of the Nazi regime and struggles to find a way to preserve the innocence of her childhood in the midst of her destructive surroundings. As the political situation in Germany deteriorates, her foster parents hide a Jewish man named Max, throwing the family into a state of danger. Hans, who has developed a close relationship with Liesel, teaches her to read in secret. Recognizing the power of writing and sharing the written word, Liesel begins to not only steal the books that the Nazi party is looking to destroy, but to also write her own stories and share the power of language with Max, the Jewish refugee. As Liesel copes with the trauma of her past and the violent horrors of the war-torn world around her, she embarks on a journey of self-discovery, the formation of a new family, and mostly, her life as "the book thief".[2]

Characters[edit]

Liesel Meminger[edit]

The protagonist of the story. She is an adopted young girl on the verge of adolescence, with blonde hair that "was a close enough brand of German blonde" and a "smile that was starving" when she very rarely showed it. She is fostered by the Hubermanns when her father "abandons" their family and her mother is forced to give her up as a foster child. Liesel is the "book thief" referred to in the title.[3]

Hans Hubermann (Papa)[edit]

Liesel's foster father and husband of Rosa. Hans was a World War 1 fighter, accordion player, book aficionado and handyman. He develops a close and loving relationship with Liesel, and becomes a main source of strength and support for her throughout the novel.[3]

Rosa Hubermann (Mama)[edit]

Liesel's sharp-tongued, often abrasive, foster mother. She is 5'1" and has a "wardrobe" build, with a displeased face, brown-grey tightly-cinched hair often tied up in a bun, and "chlorinated" eyes. To supplement the household income, she does washing and ironing for five of the wealthier households in Molching. She has a quick temper, dictates to the household, and is known for straightening out previous foster children. Though she often swears at Liesel, she cares very much for her. She has two children of her own, Trudy and Hans, Jr.[3]

Rudy Steiner[edit]

Liesel's neighbor. He has bony legs, rugged teeth, blue eyes, lemon-colored hair and likes to get in the middle of situations. Despite being the German ideal (blond hair and blue eyes), he does not support the Nazis. As part of a household with six children, Rudy is habitually hungry. He is known throughout the neighborhood due to the "Jesse Owens incident", in which he colored himself with coal one night and ran one hundred metres at the local sports field. He is academically and athletically gifted, which attracts the attention of Nazi Party officials, leading to an attempted recruitment. His lack of support for the Nazi party becomes problematic as the story progresses. Rudy becomes Liesel's best friend, and eventually falls in love with her.[3]

Max Vandenburg[edit]

A Jewish fist-fighter takes refuge from the Nazi regime in the Hubermann's basement. He is the son of a WWI German soldier who fought with Hans Hubermann, and the two developed a close friendship during the war. He has brown, feather-like hair and swampy brown eyes. During the Nazis' reign of terror, Hans agrees to shelter Max and hide him from the Nazi party. During his stay at the Hubermann's house, Max befriends Liesel due to their shared affinity for words. He writes two books for her and presents her with a sketchbook that contains his life story, which helps Liesel to develop as a writer and reader.[3]

Tommy Müller[edit]

Tommy lives on Himmel Street and is friends with Liesel and Rudy. Tommy has severe ear problems because he got lost in the snow for a long period of time as a young child. He is part of the Hitler Youth organization.[3]

Ilsa Hermann[edit]

The wife of the mayor of Molching who employs Rosa Hubermann. Ilsa allows Liesel to visit and read books in her personal library. She also gives Liesel a diary, which leads Liesel to write her own story, "The Book Thief".[3]

Death[edit]

The narrator throughout the story, Death is tired of his job and wants a vacation, but cannot take one because there would be nobody to replace him. He is "haunted by humans".[3]

Recognition[edit]

  • 2006: Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best Book (South East Asia & South Pacific)
  • 2006: School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
  • 2006: Daniel Elliott Peace Award
  • 2006: Publishers Weekly Best Children's Book of the Year
  • 2006 : National Jewish Book Award for Children's and Young Adult Literature [4]
  • 2006: Bulletin Blue Ribbon Book[5]
  • 2007: Michael L. Printz Honor Book[6] The Printz award is given to the best book for teens, based only on the quality of the writing.
  • 2007: Book Sense Book of the Year Award for Children's Literature

Film[edit]

Main article: The Book Thief (film)

The film was released on November 2013.[7] It was directed by Brian Percival. Michael Petroni wrote the script. Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson portrayed the Hubermanns, Ben Schnetzer was Max Vandenburg, Nico Liersch was Rudy Steiner, and Sophie Nélisse was Liesel Meminger. John Williams wrote the music soundtrack.[8][9] Much of the movie was filmed in Görlitz, Germany.[10][11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Best Sellers: Children's Books - May 15, 2011". New York Times. 15 May 2011. Retrieved 6 May 2011. 
  2. ^ Zusak, Markus (September 7, 2011). The Book Thief. Random House Children's Books. p. 576. ISBN 9780375842207. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Zusak, Markus (2005). The Book Thief. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 
  4. ^ Jewish Book Council. "NJBA Winners". 
  5. ^ "2006 Blue Ribbons". The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books. Retrieved 6 January 2013. 
  6. ^ "Michael L. Printz Winners and Honor Books". American Library Association. Retrieved 5 January 2013. 
  7. ^ "'The Book Thief' sets November release date". Entertainment Weekly. 
  8. ^ http://filmmusicreporter.com/2013/08/06/john-williams-to-score-the-book-thief/
  9. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0816442/
  10. ^ Roxborough, Scott. "'The Book Thief' Begins Shooting in Germany". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  11. ^ "The Book Thief movie adaptation gets a director By Molly Driscoll". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 2 February 2012. 

External links[edit]