The Book Thief
Picador, $35 pb, 588 pp, 033036426X
The Book Thief marks a departure for Markus Zusak. It is his first novel for adults, has broader concerns than his earlier work, and makes clearer his ambitions to be considered a serious writer. His first three novels, for young adults, were primarily focused on the masculinity of the boys in a working-class Sydney family. His next book, The Messenger (2002), foreshadowed the development we see in The Book Thief. Presented for young adults, The Messenger could easily have been marketed as a ‘crossover’ novel. It took Zusak into new and strange territory with a story about a young man mysteriously chosen and directed to intervene in other people’s lives.