And there it was, as the Kindle told me I was passing 95%, a rare and welcome surge of sadness, not because the book is coming to a sad ending, but simply because it is coming to an ending. The author earns the tears with his characters and storytelling, but the tears are also from the ache of a beloved journey reaching its destination.
The lyricism of Markus Zusak’s words, and the turns of his remarkable story, are hard to let go. Zusak pulls us gently into the story of Liesel Meminger and makes us love her, along with her adopted and extended family. The Book Thief, I suspect, will be remembered as one of the greatest works of early 21st-century literature, but if my suspicions are wrong, it will still be a book that lingers with me personally until its narrator comes to visit me.
I watched the wonderful film that has been made of The Book Thief after I’d finished about a quarter of the novel, and I was struck by how well the movie honors the book while ably transforming the story from one medium to another. Inevitably, the book is a deeper and richer experience, but the film is worth the investment of time as well.
The decision to buy and read this book came after a reader I respect said she would rank it with To Kill A Mockingbird among the best she’d ever read – the highest of praise. I knew little more about the story, and for those who want to discover the book as I did, I’ll leave it at that. Highly, highly recommended.