consistent inconsistency

the book thief - markus zusak


I've never really been one for historical literature. I've definitely been exposed to other WWII/Holocaust media and books, but it really wasn't a genre I went in for. I'm not sure why - on some reflection, I think I may have been putting up barriers to engaging with stories I knew were going to be sad. Still, Beth recommended I read The Book Thief. I don't think I actually read the blurb or realised when it was set when I started reading it, which may have helped me get into it a bit more.

I think the book broke me a bit.

I was about halfway through the book as we took our flight to move to Canada. It had already been a long day, and had just finished a movie, so I thought I would enjoy some chilled time reading The Book Thief. I was about halfway through, and, after about 10 days, not even at a particularly sad part, the whole concept of it all just hit me. The book so successfully humanised Max and made him real that the things that we were taught in school about the Holocaust and what happened in Nazi Germany weren't just unfathomable, incomprehensible numbers - they were real people who were scared, who suffered, who lost families, and who died. And of course I knew this before, but it's one thing to know it, and one thing to feel it, and for the thought to rock you enough to start crying on a packed plane to Canada.

The book in general, though: I loved the narration, I loved the slightly odd metaphors, I loved the style and presentation of the chapters and the interjections. The foreshadowing (or, more accurately, the direct mention of future events) was also very interesting; it stopped the book being tense, and stopped you wondering about who was going to die or what was going to happen, and instead led me to feel the moments.

The Book Thief appropriately now takes its place on my list of favourite books. For my emotional wellbeing, I think it will be a while before I read it again.

tags: books

permalink | posted by nathan on Thursday, the 6th of January, 2022, whilst sipping tea in the morning