The End of the Word (Part II)
Liesel’s black book is disappearing during its time with Death, but that is why he tells us the story. Because if you ‘say something enough times you’ll never forget it.’ We are now entering the territory where the words are no longer Liesel’s, but Death’s. And we will finally find out how Death came to know her story.
The bombs are dropping and Death is collecting the dead. This time it is the people we all know and have been ‘living’ with. First it is Tommy Muller, then his sister, then their mother. Only then do the warning sirens begin to sound. But it is too late.
A Rollcall of Streets
Munich, Ellenberg, Johannson, Himmel. The main street + three more, in the poorer part of town.
Very quickly, they were all gone. You easily get the sense that all is lost, and everything is over. Maybe that is the projection from Death himself, but the words are grim too. Frau Holtzapfel was nearly waiting for Death, asking him what had taken him so long. Frau Diller was fast asleep, her shop obliterated, and Hilter’s photo was thrown to the floor. Death stepped on him on his way out. The Fielders were all in bed, Pfiffikus was hidden up to his nose. And at the Steiners, Barbra, Kurt, the little ones and then Rudy. This is it!
Rudy was asleep with one of his sisters, nearly falling out as she took up the room. His arms were around her. And just like that Death picked up their souls. They died fast. Death has some unusual thoughts then. He wonders who was there to comfort Rudy when his life was taken, as he did with the pilot. But there was only him, who isn’t too good at comforting people. Death saw all of the contents of his soul, all the major events, and dreams. The major thing, imagining what a kiss with Liesel would taste like. Rudy makes Death cry.
This is not a happy moment, but the mood it is written in, is nearly disconnected and cold. And there is more to come.
It is the Hubermanns next. Hans first. His soul met Death, a sign of the best. Someone that rises up and says, ‘I know who you are and I am ready. Not that I want to go, of course, but I will come.’ And this is my attitude towards death. Of course I don’t want to die, but if I were, I would hope to accept it, and go willingly. I guess it is the last thing that we are in control of. Hans’s soul whispered Liesel’s name in the end, but Liesel wasn’t going to meet Death that day. Lastly was Rosa. I think it shows the calibre of Zusak, when in such a sombre mood and scene, he is still able to tactfully pull off some jokes. Rosa had a bigger heart than people would have thought, it was something you could tell about her. She cared about those she loved, and she would do anything for them, a quality that is important and revered.
The Last Luck
I moved from street to street and came back for a single man named Schultz at the bottom of Himmel.
Not sure I remember any Schultz, but he was the last, and with the LSE so close and saving Liesel and celebrating, it seems harsh. Again Death is curious, and this time it leads to something beautiful.
They pulled her out, and she immediately screamed for Hans. She ran, the sky was red, and it was snowing, not snow but hot ash. Everything she knew is gone. I find it quite satirical that in a time like this someone can say that it will all be okay. In that sort of situation, how can you say that everything will be fine? I guess it is try to comfort the person, and yourself, but can you really believe it at the time?
Liesel is so confused and lost, and in shock, and it is really sad, that she tells the man that they must save Hans and Rosa. But worst of all, that they must save Max. Then she recalled, and collapsed. She still was holding her book, her words. They walked past someone carrying Hans’s accordion case, broken and it acts as a wake up. She realises that they have been bombed. As she took the accordion case, she saw her first body. It was Frau Holtzapfel.
The Next Dozen Seconds of Liesel Meminger’s Life
She turns on her heel and looks as far as she can down this ruined canal that was once Himmel Street. She sees two men carrying a body and follows them.
When she gets to them, she realises it is Rudy. She tries to wake him up, as if he were sleeping, but he is not. She tells him that she loves him, but he will never wake up. She kissed him, but all it tastes like is regret of her chances that she lost.
The Next Discovery
The bodies of Mama and Papa, both lying tangled in the gravel bed sheet of Himmel Street.
I don’t know what is worse. Rudy’s death, or Hans and Rosa’s. It’s heartbreaking and emotional. I don’t know how Liesel will move on, restart her life. How can you, after everyone you loved died, twice. It took her years to move on from her mother and brother’s death, how long will it take for her to accept and ‘move on’ from everyone else. You can never fully move on, but I’m trying to say, regain normalcy and will to live and love.
Many Moments of Avoidance
Papa, She would not, and could not, look at Papa. Not yet. Not now.
I thought that Hans’s death would be the hardest. She loved them all, but Hans was different. He taught her so much, she loved him the most. She gave the accordion to Hans’s dead body. In her mind, Hans played the final tune. It ended, and it was over. She could finally say her goodbye. Though he will never leave her. She remembered the accordion but she forgot the book.
It was thrown away, but Death was there and collected her precious words. And all we have left now is the epilogue, it is nearly over. This was a really emotional chapter, but it was done in the best manner possible. Liesel has gone through a lot, and I think in the epilogue we will find out how she copes after this latest tragedy.