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Unformatted text preview: it dem Kind?” Rosa Hubermann inquired. She said it again. “What’s wrong with this child?” She
stuck her face inside the car and said, “Na, komm. Komm.”
The seat in front was flung forward. A corridor of cold light invited her out. She would not move.
Outside, through the circle she’d made, Liesel could see the tall man’s fingers, still holding the cigarette. Ash
stumbled from its edge and lunged and lifted several times until it hit the ground. It took nearly fifteen minutes
to coax her from the car. It was the tall man who did it.
There was the gate next, which she clung to.
A gang of tears trudged from her eyes as she held on and refused to go inside. People started to gather on the
street until Rosa Hubermann swore at them, after which they reversed back, whence they came.
A TRANSLATION OF
ROSA HUBERMANN’S ANNOUNCEMENT
“What are you assholes looking at?”
Eventually, Liesel Meminger walked gingerly inside. Hans Hubermann had her by one hand. Her small suitcase
had her by the other. Buried beneath the folded layer of clothes in that suitcase was a small black book, which,
for all we know, a fourteen-year-old grave digger in a nameless town had probably spent the last few hours
looking for. “I promise you,” I imagine him saying to his boss, “I have no idea what happened to it. I’ve looked
everywhere. Everywhere!” I’m sure he would never have suspected the girl, and yet, there it was—a black book
with silver words written against the ceiling of her clothes:
THE GRAVE DIGGER’S HANDBOOK
A Twelve-Step Guide to Grave-Digging Success
Published by the Bayern Cemetery Association
The book thief had struck for the first time—the beginning of an illustrious career. GROWING UP A SAUMENSCH
Yes, an illustrious career.
I should hasten to admit, however, that there was a considerable hiatus between the first stolen book and the
second. Another noteworthy point is that the first was stolen from snow and the second from fire. Not to omit
that others were also gi...
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- Winter '13