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Unformatted text preview: HITE: BLACK: They fall on top of each other. The scribbled signature black, onto the blinding global white, onto the thick
Yes, often, I am reminded of her, and in one of my vast array of pockets, I have kept her story to retell. It is one
of the small legion I carry, each one extraordinary in its own right. Each one an attempt— an immense leap of
an attempt—to prove to me that you, and your human existence, are worth it.
Here it is. One of a handful.
The Book Thief.
If you feel like it, come with me. I will tell you a story.
I’ll show you something. PART ONE
the grave digger’s handbook
himmel street—the art of saumensching—an ironfisted
woman—a kiss attempt—jesse owens—
sandpaper—the smell of friendship—a heavyweight
champion—and the mother of all watschens ARRIVAL ON HIMMEL STREET
That last time.
That red sky . . .
How does a book thief end up kneeling and howling and flanked by a man-made heap of ridiculous, greasy,
Years earlier, the start was snow.
The time had come. For one.
A SPECTACULARLY TRAGIC MOMENT
A train was moving quickly.
It was packed with humans.
A six-year-old boy died in the third carriage.
The book thief and her brother were traveling down toward Munich, where they would soon be given over to
foster parents. We now know, of course, that the boy didn’t make it.
HOW IT HAPPENED
There was an intense spurt of coughing.
Almost an inspired spurt.
And soon after—nothing.
When the coughing stopped, there was nothing but the nothingness of life moving on with a shuffle, or a nearsilent twitch. A suddenness found its way onto his lips then, which were a corroded brown color and peeling,
like old paint. In desperate need of redoing.
Their mother was asleep.
I entered the train.
My feet stepped through the cluttered aisle and my palm was over his mouth in an instant.
No one noticed.
The train galloped on.
Except the girl.
With one eye open, one still in a dream, the book thief—also known as Liesel Meminger—could see without
question that her younger brother, Werner, was now sideways...
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- Winter '13