The Book Thief - Markus Zusak

It was a kind of bemused inaugural silence to liesels

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Unformatted text preview: heir goodbyes and gave him money and a few valuables. “It’s chaos out there, and chaos is what we need.” They left, without looking back. It tortured him. If only he’d turned for one last look at his family as he left the apartment. Perhaps then the guilt would not have been so heavy. No final goodbye. No final grip of the eyes. Nothing but goneness. For the next two years, he remained in hiding, in an empty storeroom. It was in a building where Walter had worked in previous years. There was very little food. There was plenty of suspicion. The remaining Jews with money in the neighborhood were emigrating. The Jews without money were also trying, but without much success. Max’s family fell into the latter category. Walter checked on them occasionally, as inconspicuously as he could. One afternoon, when he visited, someone else opened the door. When Max heard the news, his body felt like it was being screwed up into a ball, like a page littered with mistakes. Like garbage. Yet each day, he managed to unravel and straighten himself, disgusted and thankful. Wrecked, but somehow not torn into pieces. Halfway through 1939, just over six months into the period of hiding, they decided that a new course of action needed to be taken. They examined the piece of paper Max was handed upon his desertion. That’s right—his desertion, not only his escape. That was how he viewed it, amid the grotesquerie of his relief. We already know what was written on that piece of paper: ONE NAME, ONE ADDRESS Hans Hubermann Himmel Street 33, Molching “It’s getting worse,” Walter told Max. “Anytime now, they could find us out.” There was much hunching in the dark. “We don’t know what might happen. I might get caught. You might need to find that place. . . . I’m too scared to ask anyone for help here. They might put me in.” There was only one solution. “I’ll go down there and find this man. If he’s turned into a Nazi—which is very likely—I’ll just turn arou...
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