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Unformatted text preview: hing of the girl.
She had already assembled the puzzle and merely stood beside her and eventually convinced her to sit down.
They waited together.
When Papa found out, he dropped his bag, he kicked the Bahnhof air.
None of them ate that night. Papa’s fingers desecrated the accordion, murdering song after song, no matter how
hard he tried. Everything no longer worked.
For three days, the book thief stayed in bed.
Every morning and afternoon, Rudy Steiner knocked on the door and asked if she was still sick. The girl was
On the fourth day, Liesel walked to her neighbor’s front door and asked if he might go back to the trees with
her, where they’d distributed the bread the previous year.
“I should have told you earlier,” she said.
As promised, they walked far down the road toward Dachau. They stood in the trees. There were long shapes of
light and shade. Pinecones were scattered like cookies.
Thank you, Rudy.
For everything. For helping me off the road, for stopping me . . .
She said none of it.
Her hand leaned on a flaking branch at her side. “Rudy, if I tell you something, will you promise not to say a
word to anyone?”
“Of course.” He could sense the seriousness in the girl’s face, and the heaviness in her voice. He leaned on the
tree next to hers. “What is it?”
“I did already.”
“Do it again. You can’t tell your mother, your brother, or Tommy Müller. Nobody.”
“I promise.” Leaning.
Looking at the ground.
She attempted several times to find the right place to start, reading sentences at her feet, joining words to the
pinecones and the scraps of broken branches.
“Remember when I was injured playing soccer,” she said, “out on the street?”
It took approximately three-quarters of an hour to explain two wars, an accordion, a Jewish fist fighter, and a
basement. Not forgetting what had happened four days earlier on Munich Street.
“That’s why you went for a closer look,” Rudy said, “with the bread that da...
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- Winter '13