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Unformatted text preview: ctionary), and I think I will leave you alone now. I’m sorry for everything.
Thank you again.
She left the note on the desk and gave the room a last goodbye, doing three laps and running her hands over the
titles. As much as she hated them, she couldn’t resist. Flakes of torn-up paper were strewn around a book called
The Rules of Tommy Ho fmann. In the breeze from the window, a few of its shreds rose and fell.
The light was still orange, but it was not as lustrous as earlier. Her hands felt their final grip of the wooden
window frame, and there was the last rush of a plunging stomach, and the pang of pain in her feet when she
By the time she made it down the hill and across the bridge, the orange light had vanished. Clouds were
When she walked down Himmel Street, she could already feel the first drops of rain. I will never see Ilsa
Hermann again, she thought, but the book thief was better at reading and ruining books than making
THREE DAYS LATER
The woman has knocked at number
thirty-three and waits for a reply.
It was strange for Liesel to see her without the bathrobe. The summer dress was yellow with red trim. There was
a pocket with a small flower on it. No swastikas. Black shoes. Never before had she noticed Ilsa Hermann’s
shins. She had porcelain legs.
“Frau Hermann, I’m sorry—for what I did the last time in the library.”
The woman quieted her. She reached into her bag and pulled out a small black book. Inside was not a story, but
lined paper. “I thought if you’re not going to read any more of my books, you might like to write one instead.
Your letter, it was . . .” She handed the book to Liesel with both hands. “You can certainly write. You write
well.” The book was heavy, the cover matted like The Shoulder Shrug. “And please,” Ilsa Hermann advised her,
“don’t punish yourself, like you said you would. Don’t be like me, Liesel.”
The girl opened the book and touched the paper. “Danke...
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- Winter '13