“I am haunted by humans.”
Day three of undefined gender/genderless narrator week: “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak
This is one of my all time favorite books. I read it when I was sixteen and have read it multiple times since. During my first read, upon discovering the narrator was Death during this holocaust era story, I thought it was the most brilliant thing my little teenage mind could fathom.
I still think it's an amazing idea, especially from a writer's perspective. It shows us you don’t have to have a character be a biological human, male or female, at all to create a great narrator.
Zusak left Death gender-neutral, allowing the reader to view the character as they wanted. There are some that suggest that this is because the reader is Death, and that the narration you're reading is your own account of the book's events. That may be the case, I’m sure it just depends on the reader. Despite this, the story is completely engaging and Zusak’s writing is fantastic.
I have purposefully NOT watched the film adaptation because this book has been so treasured, so solidified in my mind the way I have chosen to interpret it. I think the beauty of Death telling the story can only be translated through the written word.
Tell me your thoughts on “The Book Thief.” Do you like Death as the narrator? Did you picture him/her as a specific gender?