‘The Book Thief’ by Markus Zusak is narrated by Death.
It is pretty much the first thing anyone will tell you about the novel. I felt that it was a fine story about a young girl (Liesel) in foster care in Munich during the Second World War, and could have so easily done without this narration. The story flowed well with Zusak showing great skill in the character development of Liesel, but my enjoyment was stunted by the appearance of death being all whimsical about what he had seen elsewhere. People say ‘kill your darlings’ and I think Death was Zusak’s darling. It must also be enormously difficult to write about events retrospectively and fictionally, but the use of pointed phrases such as referring to foster carer Hans as the ‘final solution’ when Lisal first meets him gives away immediately the knowledge of historical context of the novel that the author, and indeed the rest of us, have, and dilutes the way Zusak otherwise very much takes you back to 1930/40’s Munich. Overall I enjoyed the book and would recommend it, but more because I enjoyed a personal look into the lives of a people so often over looked by history, the civilians of Germany who weren’t supporters of Nazism.
You can buy a copy of The Book Thief from your local bookshop.