24 July 2015

The Book Thief - Marcus Zusak

A terrific book... also translated into a terrific movie.

I bought the book, before it's publicity blitz began, upon impulse. I, like millions, have been a product of and fascinated with History, especially European History, both as a student and as a human being. So when I learned that The Book Thief is centered about Holocaust history, impulse lead me to pick the book. No hesitation.

I brought it home and read. Initially a bit difficult going, I gave up, on no particular pretext, after 10 pages. The other book I had done a similar act of give-uppance, that later has come to be my all time Top-3, was Italo Calvino's IF ON A WINTER'S NIGHT A TRAVELLER (the other two being Patrick Suskind's PERFUME & Bram Stoker's DRACULA). As it turned out with its predecessor, THE BOOK THIEF has added itself to the Top-4 of my likes.

Narrated from the 1st person voice, uniquely, of Death, the book took a while warming up... but once it warmed up, like the analogous books that Holocaust ended up licking the pages of in its bonfire,  during the infamous Buecherverbrennung (Burning of the Books), THE BOOK THIEF started burning inside me and searing some of my entrails with such emotional intensity, that there was no let down. I finished, in my second try, in one sitting, ended up recommending it to my students.

Recently, I saw the movie. I had the DVD for a while now, but resisting the watch as I did not want the movie to sour the impact the book had had on me. However, it was my best chance to introduce the book itself to my daughter. She has dangerously been discovering rom, com, chicklit and other mush literature as befits the age (teen), I chanced upon. So I had to force a happenstance on her reading life. Over lunch and post-lunch one afternoon, I played the movie, with a bit of trepidation, for the reason I had already outlined above. It did not disappoint. Perhaps, my ulterior agenda to introduce my daughter to the book, overrode any other notions. Nevertheless, it turned out to be as good a watch as a read, though there are parts in book that stand out for its narrative force that a camera can never intensely catch, but only glimpse.

THE BOOK THIEF is now on my daughter's all time list too. Of course, Pride and Prejudice tops her list, as with most aspiring literature students. It's not a bad start, however!

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