Markus’ book is set in Nazi Germany. It’s surprising especially since he was raised in Sydney, Australia. The author says his parents told him powerful stories when he was ten years old…and he never forgot them.
“My mom told a story about a young boy who ran into his house and got a piece of bread and gave it to an old jewish man who had been taken through the street, who then got down on his hands and knees and thanked him and grabbed him by the ankles…and then both of them were whipped. One for taking the bread…the boy was chased down and whipped for giving it…it’s such a tragic yet beautiful moment, you bring those two things together, you have human.”
Another poignant aspect of the book is the narrator. The Book Thief is narrated by Death. Markus says it only made sense given the subject matter. “I thought who better to write this story set during wartime and the idea really started to work when I thought he’s trying to find the beautiful glimpses of people even in this ugly time.”
The Book Thief was written by Markus Zusak. It was published in 2005