The Book Thief - Markus Zusak

The mayors wifes arms they hung her face slipped

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Unformatted text preview: Max did not move. “The Führer.” He was very matter-of-fact about this. “That’s why I’m in training.” “The push-ups?” “That’s right.” He walked to the concrete stairway. “Every night, I wait in the dark and the Führer comes down these steps. He walks down and he and I, we fight for hours.” Liesel was standing now. “Who wins?” At first, he was going to answer that no one did, but then he noticed the paint cans, the drop sheets, and the growing pile of newspapers in the periphery of his vision. He watched the words, the long cloud, and the figures on the wall. “I do,” he said. It was as though he’d opened her palm, given her the words, and closed it up again. Under the ground, in Molching, Germany, two people stood and spoke in a basement. It sounds like the beginning of a joke: “There’s a Jew and a German standing in a basement, right? . . .” This, however, was no joke. The Painters: Early June Another of Max’s projects was the remainder of Mein Kampf. Each page was gently stripped from the book and laid out on the floor to receive a coat of paint. It was then hung up to dry and replaced between the front and back covers. When Liesel came down one day after school, she found Max, Rosa, and her papa all painting the various pages. Many of them were already hanging from a drawn-out string with pegs, just as they must have done for The Standover Man. All three people looked up and spoke. “Hi, Liesel.” “Here’s a brush, Liesel.” “About time, Saumensch. Where have you been so long?” As she started painting, Liesel thought about Max Vandenburg fighting the Führer, exactly as he’d explained it. BASEMENT VISIONS, JUNE 1941 Punches are thrown, the crowd climbs out of the walls. Max and the Führer fight for their lives, each rebounding off the stairway. There’s blood in the Führer’s mustache, as well as in his part line, on the right side of his head. “Come on, Führer,” says the Jew. He waves him forward. “Come on,...
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