Death is always busy—“the world is a factory.” The last fact of this story is that Liesel, the book thief, died only yesterday. Liesel lived to a very old age; her long life carried her far away from Himmel Street in Molching, Germany, to Sydney, Australia. She died with “her soul sitting up,” just like Hans. In the moments before her death, Liesel envisioned her children, her grandchildren, and all those whom she loved at one point or another in her life like the Hubermanns and her little brother. She also envisioned her time on Himmel Street so long ago.
After the street was cleared, Liesel had nowhere to go and no one left to care for her. She was called “the girl with the accordion” when she was taken to the police station. Three hours later, Ilsa Hermann and her husband arrived at the station asking for Liesel. They drove her to their home, a line separating the bombed section from the homes left standing. At the Hermanns’ house, Liesel ate sparingly and muttered to herself well into the night, and she refused to wash herself. Even on the day of the funerals, Liesel did not wash herself and only put on a pretty dress over the grime. Later that day, she walked fully clothed into the Amper River to say her goodbyes. The war continued, and the memory of her books drowned out her sorrow. It would take years for her to really recover.
Alex Steiner eventually returned home, but the news of his family’s death undid him. Alex learned that Liesel was still alive and visited her at the Hermanns’ home. She told Mr. Steiner that she had kissed his son Rudy once, and although it...
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