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Unformatted text preview: r voices and words
behind them, on the word shaker’s tree. For a long time, Liesel sat at the kitchen table and wondered where Max Vandenburg was, in all that forest out
there. The light lay down around her. She fell asleep. Mama made her go to bed, and she did so, with Max’s
sketchbook against her chest.
It was hours later, when she woke up, that the answer to her question came. “Of course,” she whispered. “Of
course I know where he is,” and she went back to sleep.
She dreamed of the tree. THE ANARCHIST’S SUIT COLLECTION
35 HIMMEL STREET,
With the absence of two fathers,
the Steiners have invited Rosa
and Trudy Hubermann, and Liesel.
When they arrive, Rudy is still in
the process of explaining his
clothes. He looks at Liesel and his
mouth widens, but only slightly.
The days leading up to Christmas 1942 fell thick and heavy with snow. Liesel went through The Word Shaker
many times, from the story itself to the many sketches and commentaries on either side of it. On Christmas Eve,
she made a decision about Rudy. To hell with being out too late.
She walked next door just before dark and told him she had a present for him, for Christmas.
Rudy looked at her hands and either side of her feet. “Well, where the hell is it?”
“Forget it, then.”
But Rudy knew. He’d seen her like this before. Risky eyes and sticky fingers. The breath of stealing was all
around her and he could smell it. “This gift,” he estimated. “You haven’t got it yet, have you?”
“And you’re not buying it, either.”
“Of course not. Do you think I have any money?” Snow was still falling. At the edge of the grass, there was ice
like broken glass. “Do you have the key?” she asked.
“The key to what?” But it didn’t take Rudy long to understand. He made his way inside and returned not long
after. In the words of Viktor Chemmel, he said, “It’s time to go shopping.”
The light was disappearing fast, and except for the church, all of Munich Street had closed up for Christmas.
Liesel walked hurriedly to remain in step with the lankier stride of her neighbor. They arrived a...
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- Winter '13