Pimples Gathered in Peer Groups

Pimples were gathered
in peer groups on his face.

(description of a 15 year old boy)

Her teeth elbowed each other
for room in her mouth…

(a shopkeeper)

~  Markus Zusak in The Book Thief

I’m only a third of the way through listening to this novel narrated by Death about a girl named Liesel Meminger living in Nazi Germany.  Death as the narrator sounds very creepy, but in fact it is incredibly clever. When I review it, qualifiers (caveats) will rain down like paratroopers on D Day.   

But this much I can say: 

I haven’t read writing so crisp and crackly since William Griffin’s translation of The Imitation of Christ or Seamus Heaney’s translation of Beowulf.

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10 thoughts on “Pimples Gathered in Peer Groups

  1. The link in yellow above doesnt seem to work… is it supposed to?  At any rate, I clicked over to Amazon to read a little more about The Book Thief and will look forward to your review.While I’m not ready to post about her yet, I’m getting to know Augusta Jane Evans, a 19th century novelist who was most popular in the South, and even read by Union soliders.  Her stylized writing is off-putting to me, but I’m inclined to press on because I feel like the narratives shed light on the lives of my very ancestors.Besides, the informative introductions to the newly republished volumes (Beulah & Macaria) are worth the prices of the books in the first place.

  2. @LauraLLD – that’s a high recommendation, Laura.  It’s available at my library and so I will check it out soon.  That’s something someone could have told me as a young mother:  don’t be shy about reading YA books.

  3. @hopeinbrazil – Qualified recommendation, Hope.  I didn’t make clear my qualifiers would be caveats.  The language bothers me.  Some of it is in German, but a lot is in English.  Especially the Lord’s name.  I think it is in my face, so to speak, because I am listening to it.  Sometimes when I read things I don’t picture scenes or “voice” the words.  Does that make any sense?When I read the Tolkien trilogies and came to battle scenes, my mind did not form any pictures, because the battle scenes didn’t interest me.  But when I watched the movies, I couldn’t escape the battle scenes.  The writing is incredible; I believe Mr. Zusak could have told the story without all the profanity. 

  4. I know what you mean about the different effects of hearing and reading.  It’s nice to be able to skip over parts of a book that are too graphic.  Films make that harder.  But I’ve found a clever solution…  All movies are subtitled here and sometimes when they are too intense for me I turn off the volume and “read” the movie. It works for me!

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