Thursday, March 15, 2012

"Even death has a heart."

Here is a small fact: You are going to die.

Reading this written in such an offhand way is quite unsettling, isn’t it? Well, maybe death won’t seem so brutal once you read The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. The credit goes to En, for recommending it to me and Chee, for sending it to me, very promptly I should add, as a complete surprise.

What intrigued me the most was when I got to know that the entire story has been narrated by Death. It is set in Nazi Germany, where death was very busy and tired. One line that stuck with me was when death says “I am not violent or malicious. I am just a result.” Wow. That is so profound. Death is what happens to us, after all the bad stuff has already happened. It’s when our soul is finally at peace. Death isn’t evil. It is only a consequence. Most people dread it, but probably every one reaches that stage in life when they wait for it to finally embrace them. Where the soul sits up and welcomes it with a smile. The song "I'll fly away" comes to mind at this point:

"When the shadows of this life have gone, I'll fly away,
Like a bird from it's prison bars has flown, I'll fly away"

I loved how the author shaped the characters. I loved how he exposed the kindness and the brutality humans are capable of. Because that’s what makes them who they are. Humans. It was beautiful how he played with words, and shuffled between the past, present and the future. It’s like he put them onto a gargantuan palette and mingled and mixed all the colours together, to bring to life an enthralling picture on the canvas, made of contrasting hues. Red with yellow. Black with white.

I wish I could write like that. I hope to, some day. Writing that would move someone to tears. Mixing beauty and destruction together with tragedy and love. 

“I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.”
-Liesel Meminger.


  1. Woah that is one book I am DEFINITELY going to read! :O

  2. Ruhani, you should :O If you love poetic, surreal type of books then you'd love it! :D

  3. I really really admire the care and tenderness with which you write about the books you read. I can tell this one really moved you and I'd like to read it, too, now. I've already ordered it in flipkart before typing out this comment. I am so glad I found you, Astha! :)

    And frankly, I think the only thief I could ever really respect is a book thief, don't you think? :)

    And especially now that two of my favourite bloggers have written a review of this book, I am going to read it asap! :)

    This one's by Nitisha, it's here if you'd like to read it -

  4. Karishma, your comments have this immense power of making me smile. Grin, even. Ear to ear. You ordered it?! :D It's amazing to see how passionate you are about books. I don't think I can read all the books that you've already read in this lifetime! :P
    I would LOVE to have a book-thief friend.. who'd steal books for me! :P

    Did you just.. did you just.. call me one of your favourite bloggers?! :O
    *breaking into sobs of joy*
    I'm so glad I found you! :'D

    I read Nitisha's review. Loved it. She even quoted the same line! :D

  5. With this you remind me of a character, "Khaderbhai", from Shantaram. And something I read somewhere, about a protagonist asking for death, to let this suffering away, yeah, maybe death has a heart....
    Nice book, I'll catch it too.

  6. I've been meaning to read Shantaram! Hope I do, one of these days :) Tell me when you read this one! :D


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