Narrated By: Allan Corduner
Duration: 13 hours and 56 minutes
What to expect
'It's just a small story, really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, a Jewish fist fighter, and quite a lot of thievery ...'
Narrated in the all-knowing matter-of-fact voice of Death, witnessing the story of the citizens of Himmel Street:
When nine-year-old Liesel arrives outside the boxlike house of her new foster parents, she refuses to get out of the car. Liesel has been separated from her parents - 'Kommunists' - for ever, and at the burial of her little brother, she steals a gravedigger's instruction manual which she can't read. It is the beginning of her illustrious career.
In the care of the Hubermans, Liesel befriends blond-haired Rudy Steiner, her neighbour obsessed with Jesse Owens. She also befriends the mayor's wife, who hides from despair in her library. Together Liesel and Rudy steal books - from Nazi book burning piles, from the mayor's library, from the richer people of Molching. In time, the family hide a Jewish boxer, Max, who reads with Liesel in the basement.
By 1943, the Allied bombs are falling, and the sirens begin to wail. Liesel shares out her books in the air-raid shelters. But one day in the life of Himmel street, the wail of the sirens comes too late ...
A life-changing tale of the cruel twists of fate and the coincidences on which all our lives hinge, this is also a joyous look at the power of book to nourish the soul. Its uplifting ending will make all readers weep.
Modern & contemporary fiction, Historical fiction, Second World War fiction, The Holocaust, Narrative theme: Death, grief, loss, Narrative theme: Sense of place, Narrative theme: Coming of age, Historical adventure fiction
Listen to a sample
...a beautifully balanced piece of storytelling...Unsettling, thought-provoking, life affirming, triumphant and tragic, this is a novel of breathtaking scope, masterfully told. It is an important piece of work, but also a wonderful page-turner.
Extraordinary, resonant and relevant, beautiful and angry.
A moving work which will make many eyes brim.
This is a weighty novel worthy of universal acclaim. A sense of dread prevades this beautifully written novel. As The Book Thief draws to a close, Death says: "There's a multitude of stories that i allow to distract me as I work." The story of the Book Thief, who tried to change the world in her own small way, proves one formidable and inspiring distraction.