The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

25 Jun

I’ve been nursing a near unhealthy obsession with Holocaust literature lately. There is most definately an unspeakable horror about the whole thing, and in me, a desire to find some reason behind it all. Knowing the impossibilty of this, I still find myself turning pages. Seeking answers. Trying to grasp.
Sometimes I believe my ability to emphathize is bordering on a personality flaw. Often I’ll find myself in the middle of a movie feeling what I think the characters must be feeling…subsequently crying like a baby. And so, Holocaust literature is almost self-abuse. I read and I feel pain, starvation, betrayal, sorrow. I make myself void of all hope for a future stolen from me. I make myself greive for family members never to be seen again. I make myself fear for impending, inevitable, unpredictable death. Always, always I keep turning the page.
This routine was spun around on me with The Book Thief. Suddenly, it was a German family the narrative was following. A German child. I’m ashamed to say that until this book I never stopped to wonder. I never even entertained the thought of the German children. The German families. Surely I didn’t let myself believe all of Germany was an evil force, an enemy to be mercilessly eliminated. But, of course, yes I did. Until Liesel Meminger.

“Did they deserve any better, these people? How many had actively persecuted others, high on the scent of Hitler’s gaze, repeating his sentences, his paragraphs, his opus? Was Rosa Hubermann responsible? The hider of a Jew? Or Hans? Did they all deserve to die? The children?”
Death, p. 375

Do yourself a favor. Read it.

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