Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Day 3: A book that surprised you

by Markus Zusak

This is the only book that comes to mind when I think of a book suprising me. This was a set text in one of my classes last year and although i'd always heard good things about it, it was one of those novels that I just wasn't interested in reading. Thank god for that class, because I am absolutely in love with this book. For those of you who are yet to read this book it is big, but I managed to churn through it in a weekend, simply unable to pull my eyes away. If you have a look at the reviews on Goodreads the readers vary in their opinion, but I am very much of the camp that believes that this book is a work of wonder.

When you read this book it is not hard to see that this was a labour of love for Zusak, the book oozes emotion and creativity and has a complete life of its own. While it is set in Nazi Germany during WW2 it is completely different from anything i've ever read about that time before. He weaves the traditional holocaust fiction themes with new storylines and themes that are a breath of fresh air to a genre that has been done over and over, yet also add a depth and new complexity to the issues we've seen time and time before in holocaust novels. His use of death as the narrator was inspired. In interviews Zusak said that he rewrote the novel dozens of times with different narrators but the only one who felt right was Death, and he is so right, who better to narrate one of the darkest moments in human history than the man that had to be present and watch it all?

The size of this novel has put me off reading it again since I've still got so many books in my TBR pile, but I can't wait until the pressures of uni are off and I can just take the time to re-read it in my own time because I think this is one of those novels in which you learn something new everytime you read it. If you were like me and putting off this book then I implore you to give it a go, maybe you won't like it, but maybe like me you'll see it as a wonderful novel by a young author who can be expected to deliver big things over the next few years.


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