Based on the historic events of the Holocaust and World War II, this historic novel enunciates the sufferings and deaths experienced by the mass people. Throughout the generation, the book remained intact to its glory because of its balanced portrayal of the war-hammered society and its impact on the people in general.
The book won a ton of awards and has been the nominee for countless awards while being translated into 63 languages other than German and sold over 16 million copies worldwide.
I welcome you to take a quick look at the summary of this splendid book in the latter portion of the article.
|Original Title||The Book Thief|
|Genre||Novel-Historical fiction. Bildungsroman|
A Brief Summary
Liesel, in the novel known as The Book Thief, is traveling to Munich with her mother and brother Werner. Werner suddenly dies on the trip. Liesel and her mother pause their journey to bury Werner and Liesel, as her first act of thievery, steals a book from one of the gravediggers. Later, she and her mother continue their journey to a city called Molching.
In Molching, Liesel gets adopted by the lovely Hubermann family. Plagued by the nightmares of her dead brother, slowly she adjusts to her foster home. She makes a new friend in the neighborhood named Rudy.
Liesel didn’t like her foster parents at first but Hans wins her heart by teaching her to roll cigarettes. Soon after Hans comes to know that Liesel can’t read or write. Then he starts to teach alphabets to Liesel and they work through the book Liesel took from the gravedigger together. Meanwhile, the political situation in Molching and throughout Germany is deteriorating, with the war intensifying and domestic food and labor shortages. Liesel takes another book from the flames when the community organizes a book-burning to commemorate Hitler’s birthday.
Liesel begins to help Rosa with her laundry delivery. The mayor’s wife, Frau Hermann, one of Rosa’s customers, invites Liesel to her study one day. After seeing the appreciation for books in Liesel’s eyes, she allows her to read in her study.
Meanwhile, in Stuttgart, a German Jew named Max takes the train to the Hubermann residence with the help of a false identity and a map hidden inside of Mein Kamp. Hans Hubermann was friends with Max’s father and after he died Hans promised Max’s mother to always help them. Upon the arrival of Max, the Hubermanns hide him in their basement.
Suddenly Frau Hermann stops sending laundry saying she can’t afford the money. But with Rudy’s help, Liesel begins to steal books from Frau Hermann’s library. Max falls sick and gets into a coma. It takes him quite a few months to recover and after recovery Nazi soldiers come to check the basement to see if it is enough deep for a bomb shelter and luckily, don’t find Max. As Liesel was stealing from Hermann’s library, one day, Frau leaves a note saying that she knows about the stealing. The Allies start bombing near Molching, forcing Liesel’s block to seek refuge in a neighbor’s basement. Liesel reads to them until it’s safe to leave after each raid. Meanwhile, Max is left alone in the Hubermanns’ cellar.
As the conflict progresses, Nazi forces began parading Jewish detainees through town on their route to the Dachau concentration camp. One day, Hans gives a Jew a piece of bread and arises suspicion. Realizing Max is not safe in the basement anymore, Max leaves the house that night. Before leaving, Max gives a book called “The Word Shaker” to Liesel and promises to meet someday. Hans and Rudy’s father Alex get recruited to the Nazi army and after a while, Hans comes back to the city as he breaks his leg in a bus accident.
Death, as the narrator of the novel, sees Liesel for the second time as she steals a book from a crashed-down aircraft and the pilot dies in front of her. The Nazis continue to parade Jews through Molching, and Liesel notices Max among them unable to help.
Frau Hermann gives Liesel a blank notebook to write her own story. While editing the book she was writing, the neighborhood gets bombed, Rudy and the Hubermann family die in the bombing except for Liesel. While being rescued from the rubbles, she leaves her unfinished book named “The Book Thief”. Death rescues the book as he was watching. The Hermann family takes Liesel in as a foster family.
Max comes to Molching after the concentration camps are liberated and find Liesel. They cry and hug one other. Liesel grows up and relocates to Australia, where she raises a family and lives to a ripe old age. When Death comes to claim her soul, he shows her the book she penned all those years ago.
The act of humanity, love, kindness in difficult times, also the horrors of the war are beautifully portrayed throughout the story. Anyone who loves to read books will find the story mesmerizing.
I suggest starting reading this art of a book right away!