‘The Book Thief’, it was called. The book that changed my life.
I love loosing myself in words. Wandering into the abyss of imagination and wonder: becoming lost, and wishing it could last eternally; wading in a sea of thought that seems to extend forever.
Just like Liesel, I found myself marvelling at the power of words.
When I finally came to the last few lines of the novel, tears spewing uncontrollably from my eyes, I read slowly, with trepidation. Why? Looking back now, I think it was because I did not want it to end. This book – these words – had given me a way to escape into a fictional dream, ignited with colours and life.
Before the very end, I experienced a flash of the scenes of people and emotion that was created with words: Liesel, who read to her neighbours in a crowded basement, Max painting the tightrope towards the sun, the stars that burned his eyes, Hans’ silver eyes and his accordion, death himself…
The paradoxical themes of innocence and destruction consumed me. Like the narrator, I questioned how beauty yet so much pain could coexist. He says,
I wanted to explain that I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race-that rarely do I ever simply estimate it. I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damning and brilliant.
This book filled the empty shell of my imagination and curiosity. So little gave me so much.
For that reason, it is not just a book, but rather a wonderful, intricate collection of words thought through with inscrutable detail, creating a fictional dream in which you can perambulate forever; a world which allows you to stride beyond human imagination – words so powerful, they make you concede the notion of what at first you thought was not imaginable. I became part of that extrinsic imagination, and I struggle to figure out whether I’d ever like to leave.