The Book Thief

Markus Zusak, Author, Allan Corduner, Read by , read by Allan Corduner. Listening Library $51 (0p) ISBN 978-0-7393-3727-1

Corduner uses considerable zeal and a talent for accents to navigate Zusak's compelling, challenging novel set in Nazi Germany. Death serves as knowing narrator for the tale, which is framed much like a lengthy flashback. The storytelling aspects of this structure include asides to the listener, and lots of foreshadowing about what eventually happens to the various lead characters—appealing features for listeners. But Corduner seems to most enjoy embracing the heart of things here—the rather small and ordinary saga of 10-year-old Liesel Meminger, who has been given over to a foster family following her mother's branding as a "Kommunist" and the death of her younger brother. Under her foster parents' care, she learns how to read, how to keep terrifying secrets and how to hone her skills as a book thief, a practice that keeps her sane and feeds her newfound love of words. With quick vocal strokes, Corduner paints vivid, provocative portraits of Germans and Jews under unfathomable duress and the ripple effect such circumstances have on their lives. Ages 12-up. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 11/13/2006
Release date: 09/01/2006
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