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.


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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