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Unformatted text preview: Führer. ”
When the visions dissipated and she finished her first page, Papa winked at her. Mama castigated her for
hogging the paint. Max examined each and every page, perhaps watching what he planned to produce on them.
Many months later, he would also paint over the cover of that book and give it a new title, after one of the
stories he would write and illustrate inside it.
That afternoon, in the secret ground below 33 Himmel Street, the Hubermanns, Liesel Meminger, and Max
Vandenburg prepared the pages of The Word Shaker.
It felt good to be a painter. The Showdown: June 24
Then came the seventh side of the die. Two days after Germany invaded Russia. Three days before Britain and
the Soviets joined forces.
You roll and watch it coming, realizing completely that this is no regular die. You claim it to be bad luck, but
you’ve known all along that it had to come. You brought it into the room. The table could smell it on your
breath. The Jew was sticking out of your pocket from the outset. He’s smeared to your lapel, and the moment
you roll, you know it’s a seven—the one thing that somehow finds a way to hurt you. It lands. It stares you in
each eye, miraculous and loathsome, and you turn away with it feeding on your chest.
Just bad luck.
That’s what you say.
Of no consequence. That’s what you make yourself believe—because deep down, you know that this small piece of changing
fortune is a signal of things to come. You hide a Jew. You pay. Somehow or other, you must.
In hindsight, Liesel told herself that it was not such a big deal. Perhaps it was because so much more had
happened by the time she wrote her story in the basement. In the great scheme of things, she reasoned that Rosa
being fired by the mayor and his wife was not bad luck at all. It had nothing whatsoever to do with hiding Jews.
It had everything to do with the greater context of the war. At the time, though, there was most definitely a
feeling of punishment.
The beginning was actually a week or so earlier than June 24. Liesel scavenged a news...
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- Winter '13