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The Book Thief

Narrated by: Dennis Olsen
Length: 14 hrs and 17 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (518 ratings)
Non-member price: $30.72
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Publisher's Summary

The award-winning novel that established Markus Zusak as an international brand.

It is 1939, Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still. By her brother's graveside, Liesel's life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger's Handbook, left there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery.

So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordion-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor's wife's library, and wherever there are books to be found. But these are dangerous times. When Liesel's foster family hides a Jewish fist-fighter in their basement, Liesel's world is both opened up, and closed down.

©2005 Markus Zusak (P)2006 Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Producer Heather Steen.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Amanda
  • United States
  • 08-04-2016

Such a beautiful book

Markus Zusak writes in a style that is refreshingly different, and this is one of the most beautifully descriptive books I've read. He uses turns of phrase which are surprising, yet incredibly evocative, creating vivid pictures in your mind. Having listened to it now, I'd love to read a hard copy, highlighting these little jewels of phrases as I go so I can reread and savour them again and again.
Of course any book written about the holocaust is going to be a sad one, and the narrator seems to almost revel in giving away spoilers about what's to come, but it's almost a gentle heartbreak. It was really interesting to read a book written from the German perspective also.
Beautifully and sensitively narrated, definitely give this book a go!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • amy
  • 22-08-2015

Beautiful and poetic.

This was my first audio book experience and I think I now have impossibly high standards for any others. Absolutely loved it!!! Cried. PERFECT narrator. Poetic words.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Great narrator for a great story!

Loved loved loves this book and the narrator. I had read other reviews prior to listening and there were some bad reviews because of the accordion playing between chapters. Whilst I didn't find that it ruined it, the music could've been a little shorter between chapters and sometimes when there were several small chapters close together it got a little annoying. But it didn't ruin the book for me.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Brilliant book

This book was so well written and the narrator was excellent. I loved The Book Thief!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Brilliant piece of work

Loved it. Great story, great narrator. I knew the characters and I felt their pain.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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a wonderfully written story and very well read

using death as the narrator gives you an unimaginable perspective with stunning descriptions of the sky and the human body. LOVED IT.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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The accordion spoiled it

A great story, read well. But I hated the accordion for every chapter. I know it was related to the story, but it was loud and annoying and distracting.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

Creepy

I was more than half way through this book before I started to care about it. I even cried at the end. I think it was the creepy narration that got me hooked. I can barely believe I finished it.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Kat
  • 29-03-2019

superb story and reading

this I think is now my favourite ever book. I finished listening and then listened to it again. Everything is described in the most beautiful detail and the love that the characters have for each other makes my heart break and smile at the same time.

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I don’t get the hype over this book, huge let down

I listened to the audible version of this and I realised I’m in the minority when I say I didn’t like this at all, I feel like it’s 12 hours of time I can’t get back now wasted.
I did finish it only because of so many reviews saying it was amazing so I keep waiting for to become interesting but unfortunately it didn’t happen “for me”
Narration was so annoying how it was told,, by “death” who constantly interrupted the story with snippets of “facts” and jumping forward telling what was about to happen, then jumped back and gets on with the story of how things happen,,, beyond annoying, why bother keep reading when your told in advance, it just was annoying to me.
Deaths “personality” came across almost with humour so I didn’t feel anything for the characters, i wasn’t sad, happy etc, just blah and it’s because how it was told
The accordion playing loudly in between every chapter, so 96 times was annoying, had to keep turning it down till music finished then back up to hear story, even made my dog bark each time lol 😂
The repetitive use of the term “ Jesus, Mary and Joesph” was so over the top it was ridiculous.
The ending was a let down I won’t even go there
Just a book that wasn’t for me unfortunately

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  • HDJ
  • 13-11-2012

Ignore the teen classification!

This is an adult story about the power of words. It is also about children growing up and trying to live a normal life in a time of unbelievable horror. The Book Thief is moving and personal and wonderfully written. I often found myself going back listening to passages a second and even a third time immersing myself in the language. So beautiful and at times so sad. The narration by Dennis Olsen is outstanding. I highly recommend this book and hope it won't get lost in the teen section.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Michael
  • 20-12-2012

Beautiful

Listen to this book, read this book, own this book. This book a nothing but a work of art. It is lovely and a joy to read. My mother put me onto this book and I think Markus Zusak is possibly one of the great writers of this century. The story is on par with 'To Kill a Mocking Bird' and the style so interesting. This book will make you laugh, make you cry, it will change your life. Okay it is a good read and Dennis Olsen is fantastic at narrating it. Loved it and will want to read it for years to come. It don't get much better than this.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Benbarian
  • 04-09-2013

The most beautiful book I've ever read.

Not something I say lightly. But I've never been as deeply touched by a story, by a grouping of words. Simple, beautiful, thought provoking. Zusak is a wordsmith of the highest calibre. Each sentence lingers in my ears, my heart. Mayne tears where shed, mayne giggles escaped my lips, and so much was caught in my throat. Read it, read it again, pass it on, and read it to them.

Thanks you Mr Zusak. Thank you

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Jillian
  • 25-02-2013

Better through Audible

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I tried to get into this book with an actual book. It was very heavy to start and I kept putting it aside. Listening to it though was a pleasure! Dennis Olsen did a lovely job and the story is wonderful. It kept me captivated and when it was finished, I had that sad feeling when you wonder what you will possibly read next and enjoy as much. The Book Thief Is a must listen.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Papa! He was such a lovely gentle man who had patience and a sense of humour, and wasn't afraid to love.

What does Dennis Olsen bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

for me, pronunciation of the german words and doing german accents.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No, it was one that was nice to think about and ponder.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Kim
  • 07-08-2013

Took a while!

What did you like best about The Book Thief? What did you like least?

I loved the richness of the story and the depth of the heroine. It took me several chapters to decide if i was enjoying the story or not. It took some time for me to get used to the story being narrated by death, although in the end this was one of the things I liked most. I found the accordion music between chapters very irritating.

What did you like best about this story?

I liked how it was narrated by death and how we saw his point of view.

What about Dennis Olsen’s performance did you like?

His voice was perfect for the voice of death.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

Yes I would.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Michael
  • 29-01-2013

Great storytelling from a different viewpoint.

Really enjoyed this story from the perspective of a young girl fostered into a Munich home during WWII. There are many great stories from the war and this one stands out for it's authentic feel and the less commonly explored perspective of the German townsfolk. An amusing, moving and fascinating work. The narration was wonderful and I enjoyed the snatches of accordion music (relevant to the story) played prior to each chapter.
Well worth a credit.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Deborah
  • 01-12-2012

Sleepy mother of two under two

Would you consider the audio edition of The Book Thief to be better than the print version?

Yes, the narrator gave more realism to the story teller.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Hans Hubermann, he represents the type of person we all want to be, loyal, loving and brave.

What does Dennis Olsen bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Tone and expression that the author would want you to experience

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

There were several moments in the book when I cried

Any additional comments?

A wonderful book, highly recommended

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • J. M. Allais
  • 08-10-2012

moving and poignant story

What did you like best about this story?

It was engrossing and about real people who had weaknesses and complexities.

Any additional comments?

The problem with the reading of this book is that the narrator speaks his 'asides' sotto voce. My elderly father, who is hard of hearing, could often not hear these particular sections.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Monica
  • 05-04-2019

Instantly moves to my top 5 novels of all time

Holy moly I love this book. I'm going to purchase a copy of the novel too and watch the movie. Cried like a babe in arms a couple of times but it is so rich with heart and so well written and in the case of this audio book, phenomenally well read. would give it an extra star if I could.

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  • Timothy London
  • 27-05-2017

A must read!

Absolutely breathtaking from start to finish. A beautiful story of life, death, love, childhood, family.
Stunning narration - a master story teller. Definitely a must read.

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  • Louise
  • 19-12-2015

Fabulous!

Would you listen to The Book Thief again? Why?

This was such a riveting read. Beautifully written, very moving at times, had me holding my breath many times. Beautiful beautiful book.

What did you like best about this story?

That it was based around the real life experience of Nazi Germany.

What about Dennis Olsen’s performance did you like?

He has a lovely tone to his voice, and the characters really came to life. I always think the mark of a great narrator (inconjuction with a great author) is when you're not aware that someone is narrating, but rather you're just living the story. That was definitely the case with this book's narration. Loved it!

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No. I listen each night as I'm going off to sleep.

Any additional comments?

Highly recommend this book - you won't be disappointed. So so glad my friend recommended it.

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  • Joe
  • 07-03-2014

First Rate

What an amazing story! The weaving together of stories from the author's family history into a thoroughly engaging account of death, war and the human experience is entrancing.

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  • ISAAC
  • 14-12-2013

Handkerchiefs at the ready...

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Only if they liked seriously sad books- don't get me wrong 'The Book Thief' is fantastic but it is one you must choose to read for yourself.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The narrator who struggles so hard to stay impartial but colours can only do so much.

Have you listened to any of Dennis Olsen’s other performances? How does this one compare?

I haven't but I would now.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

"Please don't make me into a film- I'm perfect as I am."

Any additional comments?

You will cry at some point during this book but at least this way you won't get the pages soggy.

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  • Mrs
  • 17-11-2013

Unusual, thought provoking.

A complex story narrated by death itself. This story is complex and thought provoking throughtout. It plays about with chronology, but the narrator allows you to always know where you are. I loved this.