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Unformatted text preview: osa held furiously on to Liesel’s hand.
The sound of crying children kicked and punched.
Even Rudy stood completely erect, feigning nonchalance, tensing himself against the tension. Arms and elbows
fought for room. Some of the adults tried to calm the infants. Others were unsuccessful in calming themselves.
“Shut that kid up!” Frau Holtzapfel clamored, but her sentence was just another hapless voice in the warm
chaos of the shelter. Grimy tears were loosened from children’s eyes, and the smell of night breath, underarm
sweat, and overworn clothes was stirred and stewed in what was now a cauldron swimming with humans.
Although they were right next to each other, Liesel was forced to call out, “Mama?” Again, “Mama, you’re
squashing my hand!”
“What?” “My hand!”
Rosa released her, and for comfort, to shut out the din of the basement, Liesel opened one of her books and
began to read. The book on top of the pile was The Whistler and she spoke it aloud to help her concentrate. The
opening paragraph was numb in her ears.
“What did you say?” Mama roared, but Liesel ignored her. She remained focused on the first page.
When she turned to page two, it was Rudy who noticed. He paid direct attention to what Liesel was reading, and
he tapped his brother and his sisters, telling them to do the same. Hans Hubermann came closer and called out,
and soon, a quietness started bleeding through the crowded basement. By page three, everyone was silent but
She didn’t dare to look up, but she could feel their frightened eyes hanging on to her as she hauled the words in
and breathed them out. A voice played the notes inside her. This, it said, is your accordion.
The sound of the turning page carved them in half.
Liesel read on.
For at least twenty minutes, she handed out the story. The youngest kids were soothed by her voice, and
everyone else saw visions of the whistler running from the crime scene. Liesel did not. The book thief saw only
the mechanics of the words—their bodie...
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This note was uploaded on 01/17/2014 for the course ENG 99 taught by Professor Michal during the Winter '13 term at CSU Sacramento.
- Winter '13