Because I could not stop for Death, he kindly stopped for me…

I just finished reading an excellent book, and I feel the urge to tell you about it. The Book Thief has been out for a little while, but I only just had the opportunity to surrender 8+ hours of my life to its contents. There are so many characteristics of the book that I could focus on, but to me, the best part was death personified as the narrator of the story. Zusak did a phenomenal job of giving Death life. His use of colors, textures and temperatures in his descriptions not only gave Death its persona, but provided the text with such a unique richness. Death’s role is not only to narrate the story, but to carry away the souls of those who perish. He waits for the right moment to sweep in, find the soul of the departing and carry it away. It is in these moments of finality that Zusak’s literary ability excels. Zusak gives Death a unique compassion for the souls he must carry away. Death feels for the humans who are left to wander the earth, and each soul has a color that makes it unique from another. It was exciting to see death given a personality, an honest one at that.

Zusak gives the reading another angle on death, impartiality. Zusak does not give death the qualities of God or Devil. Instead, he is simply the bearer of souls; the one who can see earth at all moments and feel for the people who are on it. Death is not mean; he is not the grim reaper. Rather, he is a spirit with human tendencies and blatant honesty. There could not have been a better choice of narrator for this particular story. Death hovers over the characters like a watch-dog, only inserting himself when called. I praise Zusak for his ability to transform death into a character.

I could say so much more…..but why overwhelm you?

Well done, Zusak.

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