He's got his work cut out for him. This is Nazi Germany, after all. Yet Zusak makes it a point to acknowledge the thousands of Germans who didn't support Hitler and who hid Jewish refugees in their basements. "Once I combined those stories with the [Nazis'] ruthless acts, I had what I needed," Zusak says. "It's a powerful combination of beauty and evil."
Zusak, an Australian, grew up hearing his parents' stories about their war-torn childhoods. Much of The Book Thief draws inspiration from their heroic and harrowing tales. "There was pure good and pure evil in the same breath," he says.
Fri., March 24, 7 p.m.
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