What are some flasbacks or flash foward instances in The Book Thief?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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One of the interesting aspects about the narration of this book is the way that the narrator, Death, is a character who is looking back at a particular period of history and therefore knows what happens to the characters and how everything turns out. Repeatedly, during his narrative, what he does is to offer small "flash forwards," or to tell the reader information about what will happen at various points. For example, note how this operates when Liesl reaches the Hubermann family and Death tels the reader about their children, who are now grown up and living away from home:

Hans Junior worked in the centre of Munich and Trudy held a job as a housemaid and childminder. Soon they would both be in the war. One would be making bullets. The other would be shooting them.

This is a typical "flash forward" of the kind offered by Death throughout the narrative, as he offers us tiny details about the future lives of characters. Another major example of the flash forward is in the final pages of the book, where Death reveals the fate of the major characters who are still alive, describes the meeting of Max and Liesl once more and then jumps forward finally to when he meets with Liesl for the last time and shows her the book he kept that Max made for her.


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