In the eighty-fourth chapter of The Book Thief, itâ€™s the end of the world. Intrigued? Then itâ€™s time for Mark to read The Book Thief.
Itâ€™s time for all of this to (almost) come to an end.
CH. 84: THE END OF THE WORLD (Part II)
Now I understand why Death makes the distinction between the two parts. The world can end twice and weâ€™re just about to find out how that can be possible.
Almost all of the words are fading now. The black book is disintegrating under the weight of my travels. Thatâ€™s another reason for telling this story. What did we say earlier? Say something enough times and you never forget it. Also, I can tell you what happened after the book thiefâ€™s words had stopped, and how I came to know her story in the first place. Like this.
I enjoy the reference to the importance of oral storytelling and the reminder that we must never forget the atrocities of war, most especially what was done to the Jews and how many lives were torn apart and lost by the second world war. I also canâ€™t help but feel sad that this is all ending, especially in this way.
Itâ€™s only now that I remember that Death essentially told us the ending to all of this way back at the beginning of the book, that he told us he picked up The Book Thief as the ground was littered with bodies. Because I took such a long route to read this book, I had long forgotten that detail, or the details Death had given us way back in chapter four about how he witnessed the book thief. Looking back on those nowâ€¦.holy shit, that was the answer, right there, waiting for me.
Picture yourself walking down Himmel Street in the dark. Your hair is getting wet and the air pressure is on the verge of drastic change. The first bomb hits Tommy MÃ¼llerâ€™s apartment block. His face twitches innocently in his sleep and I kneel at his bed. Next, his sister. Kristinaâ€™s feet are sticking out from under the blanket. They match the hopscotch footprints on the street. Her little toes. Their mother sleeps a few feet away. Four cigarettes sit disfigured in her ashtray, and the roofless ceiling is hot plate red. Himmel Street is burning.
My first thought was one of abject terror, because the realization hit: We were taking a second trip through that night where everything ended for Liesel Meminger. More than ever, Zusakâ€™s detached tone actually benefits the narrative by painting us a picture of serene calm in a moment of utter destruction.
Everyone dies. They sleep, and they die.
Zusak cycles through the residents of Himmel, focusing on the four streets that comprise most of this story.
At 31 Himmel Street, Frau Holtzapfel appeared to be waiting for me in the kitchen. A broken cup was in front of her and in a last moment of awakeness, her face seemed to ask just what in the hell had taken me so long.
I started getting this funny feeling, watching these characters die in my mind, able to complete the images in my head, and knowing that itâ€™s now my turn as the reader to say goodbye to them. Maybe thatâ€™s why Zusak runs through this a second time. We never got any sort of closure. While their deaths wonâ€™t heal much of the pain we feel as readers, maybe we can begin to accept it.
Frau Diller is obliterated. The Fielders are taken all at once. Death stops to take his time in the Steiner house, stopping to tussle hair or bending down to give a kiss, pausing when he reaches Rudy Steiner.
The boy slept. His candlelit hair ignited the bed, and I picked both him and Bettina up with their souls still in the blanket. If nothing else, they died fast and they were warm. The boy from the plane, I thought. The one with the teddy bear. Where was Rudyâ€™s comfort? Where was someone to alleviate this robbery of his life? Who was there to soothe him as lifeâ€™s rug was snatched from under his sleeping feet?
There was only me.
Rudy–brave, courageous Rudy–taken in a second while he slept, never knowing what it was like to be kissed by Liesel Meminger. Why do I focus on that detail? Why does it hurt so much to think about? Itâ€™s an act of innocence and even that was taken from him. Deathâ€™s got the right idea. This is robbery.
He does something to me, that boy. Every time. Itâ€™s his only detriment. He steps on my heart. He makes me cry.
I hadnâ€™t cried at this point. I felt sad, but there werenâ€™t any tears yet. I knew they were died and Iâ€™d cried enough the first time around.
Lastly, the Hubermanns.
I didnâ€™t even get to turn the page. (Hansâ€™s name is at the end of the page in my Kindle app with my font size.) Suddenly, that wave of morose sadness washed over me, and it wasnâ€™t hard of me not to remember my life when my father was alive as I read about Hans and Deathâ€™s unending affection for him:
His soul sat up. It met me. Those kinds of souls always do–the best ones. The ones who rise up and say, â€œI know who you are and I am ready. Not that I want to go, of course, but I will come.â€ Those souls are always light because more of them have been put out. More of them have already found their way to other places. This one was sent out by the breath of accordion, the odd taste of champagne in summer, and the art of promise-keeping. He lay in my arms and rested. There was an itchy lung for a last cigarette and an immense, magnetic pull toward the basement, for the girl who was his daughter and was writing a book down there that he hoped to read one day.
His soul whispered it as I carried him. But there was no Liesel in that house. Not for me, anyway.
UNENDING WAVE OF TEARS. Oh, Hans, you were such a driving force for all of this, and your compassion and brilliant heart will not be forgotten.
Goodbye, Hans. Iâ€™ll miss you.
Rosa. Rosa Hubermann.
Make no mistake, this woman had a heart. She had a bigger one than people would think. There was a lot in it, stored up, high in miles of hidden shelving. Remember that she was the woman with the instrument strapped to her body in the long, moon-slit night. She was a Jew feeder without a question in the world on a manâ€™s first night in Molching. And she was an arm reacher, deep into a mattress, to deliver a sketchbook to a teenage girl.
It took me a few chapters to warm up to Rosa Hubermann, but that angry woman turned into someone I grew to respect and admire. She was the stability in 33 Himmel Street. You could depend on her, both if you needed her or if you were looking for a routine. She was the stone foundation that held up that basement for all those months.
Goodbye, Rosa Hubermann. Iâ€™ll miss you, too.
Himmel Street is destroyed and I canâ€™t imagine a more tragically fitting end to all of this: at the end of The Book Thief, we leave this world by destroying it. What else can we do at the end of the world?
Death travels through his narrative of that early morning apocalypse for Liesel by skipping to the moments post-discovery, after the LSE learned that she miraculously survived. In the panic and confusion, Liesel canâ€™t understand that the â€œsnowâ€ she is seeing is ash, that the sky is red from the fires of rib-cage bombs. She is in such a state of shock that one of the LSE men have to actually tell her sheâ€™s been bombed.
The girlâ€™s mouth wandered on, even if her body was now still. She had forgotten her previous wails for Hans Hubermann. That was years ago–a bombing will do that. She said, â€œWe have to get my papa, my mama. We have to get Max out of the basement. If heâ€™s not there, heâ€™s in the hallway, looking out the window. He does that sometimes when thereâ€™s a raid–he doesnâ€™t get to look much at the sky, you see. I have to tell him how the weather looks now. Heâ€™ll never believe me â€¦â€
There are many painful, brutal moments in the eighty-forth chapter of The Book Thief. This is the worst one. This is the one that means that Liesel has to go through heartbreak and we will have to witness it. This means that she still has hope and we will have to watch that hope be extinguished.
This is the hardest part.
Liesel is still clutching that little black book that Frau Hermann had given her. The book that literally saved her life. As Liesel processes the words that the LSE man has handed to her in a neat package, a dirty one, but one she can understand, she notices that someone walking by with her fatherâ€™s broken accordion cases, so she asks if she can take it. In her mind, she must return this to her father so that he knows itâ€™s still at least partially ok.
It was right about then that she saw the first body.
The accordion case fell from her grip. The sound of an explosion.
Frau Holtzapfel was scissored on the ground.
The end of the world has arrived.
While she saw the rest of them, Liesel coughed. She listened momentarily as a man told the others that they had found one of the bodies in pieces, in one of the maple trees.
There were shocked pajamas and torn faces. It was the boyâ€™s hair she saw first.
Even typing this now, Iâ€™m crying a bit. Itâ€™s just so hard to experience, and itâ€™s even worse to know that itâ€™s all over for Liesel. Sheâ€™s going to know, and very soon, that she has lost everyone. In a way, it doesnâ€™t feel like a blessing that she survived the blasts. It feels like a curse.
She begs Rudy to wake up. Iâ€™m not going to quote that section. I canâ€™t. Itâ€™s just too much for me. Itâ€™s too much grief and itâ€™s too heavy on my heart. Liesel finally accepts the reality that Rudy is really gone, and she takes that chance to give him what he wants.
She leaned down and looked at his lifeless face and Liesel kissed her best friend, Rudy Steiner, soft and true on his lips. He tasted dusty and sweet. He tasted like regret in the shadows of trees and in the glow of the anarchistsâ€™s suit collection. She kissed him long and soft, and when she pulled herself away, she touched his mouth with her fingers. Her hands were trembling, her lips were fleshy, and she leaned in once more, this time losing control and misjudging it. Their teeth collided on the demolished world of Himmel Street.
Itâ€™s the kiss Rudy has always wanted and the kiss heâ€™ll never get. God damn, this book.
Thereâ€™s no goodbye to Rudy. I imagine that this was all Liesel could do for Rudy, and she moves on, impossibly so, to find the bodies of Hans and Rosa Hubermann.
Perhaps if she stood long enough, it would be they who moved, but they remained motionless for as long as Liesel did. I realized at that moment that she was not wearing any shoes. What an odd thing to notice right then. Perhaps I was trying to avoid her face, for the book thief was truly an irretrievable mess.
I donâ€™t even know what I would do or how I would react to such a horror. Liesel sits with her dead parents and says goodbye to them, in her own way, one at a time. She turns to Rosa first and remembers those moments with her, from arriving at 33 Himmel Street and clinging to the gate, and understanding now that Rosa was defending her against everyone else on the street.
HOLD IT TOGETHER, MARK.
When she turns to Hans Hubermann, thereâ€™s a particular part thatâ€™s especially gutting to me:
Papa was a man with silver eyes, not dead ones.
Papa was an accordion!
But his bellows were all empty.
Nothing went in and nothing came out.
Oh, god, Liesel, I just canâ€™t even deal with this. Fuck.
Those moments she spends with Hans are the most striking for Death, who admits to staring at her face, knowing she loved Hans the most. He knows that in a way, Hans kept her alive all these years, that he was maybe even dead in her place. He watches her ask an LSE to bring her Hansâ€™s accordion, and then he watches her lay it aside him.
And I can promise you something, because it was a thing I saw many years later–a vision in the book thief herself–that as she knelt next to Hans Hubermann, she watched him stand and play the accordion. He stood and strapped it on in the alps of broken houses and played the accordion with kindness, silver eyes, and even a cigarette slouched on his lips. He even made a mistake and laughed in lovely hindsight. The bellows breathed and the tall man played for Liesel Meminger one last time as the sky was slowly taken from the stove.
And now, we watch the hope extinguised:
He dropped the accordion and his silver eyes continued to rust. There was only a body now, on the ground, and Liesel lifted him up and hugged him. She wept over the shoulder of Hans Hubermann.
Itâ€™s heartrending and it tears me apart. The world has ended.
Goodbye, Papa, you saved me. You taught me to read. No one can play like you. Iâ€™ll never drink champagne. No one can play like you.
Her arms held him. She kissed his shoulder–she couldnâ€™t near to look at his face anymore–and she placed him down again.
The book thief wept till she was gently taken away.
I donâ€™t know where this could go from here. Thereâ€™s still an epilogue left, but this book will always leave that vacancy in my heart. But we do know that this all comes full circle for Death, who manages to learn that The Book Thief was left behind by Liesel Meminger and, fulfilling those words in the beginning of the book, he picks it up from a garbage truck.
And here we are. At the end of the world.
My tears ruined this page.
I never had such a strong reaction to a book.
And now I’m weeping again while I read your review.
Okay, to mend the broken hearts, let’s have a story with a happy ending.
My mother didn’t experience the heavy bombing of Big City in spring 1944. Before this happened, everybody in her school was moved to Littel Town in the countryside, and working for the peasants in the afternoon and during holidays became part of the new curriculum. Germany was running out of soldiers, end when “everybody” was drafted into the army, Germany ran out of workers.
My grandmother and my aunt (who had already finished school) came to Little Town some weeks later, when their apartment had been destroyed. They found a lorry or cart going this way to move the monstrous sewing machine I mentioned in a previous post. They found a room (later an apartment) and they found work with the same peasant where my mother lived and worked. This peasant saved their life. Since money had become worthless, he paied them with potatoes.
Every native in Little Town was a peasant or at least had a garden and some hens and rabbits. There had never been need for a grocery, not to speak of a supermarket. Even if you had money and a ration card, it was plain impossible to buy food. (All natives also had their share of wood from the communal forrest. The refugees were allowed to collect broken twigs to heat their stoves.) There was a dairy where you could take as much milk as you could carry away, becaus the transport systems were breaking down, but the cows had still to be milked. During the next winter, when they were no longer fed at work because there was no work to do on the fields, my mothers family lived of potatoes and milk. Still sounds better than Rosa Hubermann’s pea soup, doesn’t it?
My grandfather had to stay at his work as long as the rubble could be removed from the tracks, the catenaries could be repaired and the streetcars where still going. Then he was drafted into the Volkssturm (the last stand). His unit surrendered as soon as the first american soldiers came in sight, and he was a POW for some months, before he arrived in Little Town late in 1945.
My father eventually learned to hide in a shelter room. “Run out of town” was no longer good advice when Tiefflieger (ground attack aircraft) shot everything that moved or looked human. He also learned how to destroy a tank. Lesson from the Hitlerjugend: “Dig a hole deep enough to crouch down in it, and as narrow as possible. Hide in your hole. If the tank’s driver sees you, he will probably turn on the spot above your head to bury you in your hole. If the tank passed you, jump on its back, place your limpet mine and run.” This sounds desperate. I don’t know if anybody survived his first tank. Fortunately my father, born early in 1930, was just one year too young to fight. But if Rudy Steiner had lived…
When allied forces approached, civilianshad to leave the place I called “District 12" to go east, but not too far, because there were the Russians. My fathers family disobeyed orders. Instead of going where they should have gone, they went to Little Town, where they had some far relatives. Otherwise my parents would never have met and I wouldn’t exist. So at least something good came from this war.
Amazing story. Thank you for sharing it.
I have to reiterate one more time how much I appreciate reading your family's stories. They definitely added to my experience of this wonderful (and terrible) book. Thank you so much for posting them.
I don't cry.. I mean, I cry for RL events, (though very very rarely does anyone actually SEE me cry), but I don't cry for books or movies. I got a lump in my throat and my eyes were slightly damp for Dumbledore. I gasped for Fred, and had a permanent lump in my throat from then to the end of DH. But actual tears and/or sobs? No.
I cried during this chapter. I've even read this book several times before. Doesn't matter. I still cry every time. This time, it was when Papa plays the accordion one last time. Before, it's been when she kisses Rudy, or when she tells Mama she's beautiful. And when I say 'cry' I mean, full blown, tears and sobs. This is the only book I've found that consistently makes me cry.
I also LOVE the idea that Papa's soul is lighter because he's spent so much time giving of himself: To Liesel, to Max, to Rosa, even to people he's not particularly close with, like Frau Holtzapfel.
Me too. It's sort of a lesson for living, that we should try to give as much of our souls as we can.
I am proctoring a Very Important Exam to a room of Masters students right now, and I'm fighting back tears.
I think that Hans part is what set me off sobbing too, the first time I read this. Now, I sob at various points throughout the book. It gets sadder and sadder each time I read it, because at this point, the characters have been living in my head for years, so I know and love them all even more.
I cry every single time I read this chapter. And damn if I didn't cry reading this review too.
Just what I was about to say.
Wept reading it; wept re-reading it; wept reading this review. Oh God.
I hope this isn't too graphic and macabre, but use of the words scissored and torn faces and the description of 'one of the bodies in pieces, in one of the maple trees' made me feel physically sick – and extremely relieved that Rudy and Rosa and Hans were in a state where Liesel could recognise them and kiss their faces and touch them. I've never witnessed a bombing (thank god), but that sort of destruction must destroy bodies if it can pulverise houses. I can't even imagine (and I don't want to) how awful it would be if, on top of losing everyone you know and love, you also couldn't physically recognise their bodies.
That is really disturbing. I'm sorry to bring it up, but I have seriously don't think I have ever been more affected by a book in terms of getting my head around the physical, lived, actual reality of war. And the humbling, horrific knowledge that even though I really think that I felt this chapter as viscerally as I could have done, I still have absolutely no idea about that physical, lived, actual reality, or of that context of absolute loss of everything – people, place, familiarity, home.
This chapter was heart wrenching. I very rarely cry while reading a book, something about only visualizing it in my mind allows me to be less emotional than I normally am, so I had not come to tears at all yet. But I sure did cry during this chapter.
I'd also like to say thanks for these reviews. I probably would not have picked up The Book Theif had it not been for Mark Reads and I am really thankful that I read this book. It is now in the top 10 of my "books to reccomend" to family and friends.
(this boo?? OK girl, learn to type…)
One bit of description I liked in this chapter was "shocked pajamas and torn faces." (I think that was it; I don't have my book with me.) I love how Zusak switched around the adjectives from the more standard noun they'd go with. I never really noticed it until this re-read.
It took me forever to read this review. Every person Death visits leads to a flood of tears, followed by more tears when Liesel makes her rounds. It hurts to watch Liesel lose everything, even on a second or third reading. "He tasted like regret in the shadows of trees and in the glow of the anarchists’s suit collection" is particularly heartrending; even though Death has prepared us for this moment, it hurts knowing how much of life Rudy is going to miss out on. Hans and Rosa are even harder to face, because of what they meant to Liesel. They picked her up and helped her cope with her previous grief. To lose two loving families before adulthood is unthinkable; even though Liesel is the survivor, I feel the worst for her. I appreciate how they all left an imprint of their living selves for Liesel to mourn, even if it makes it impossible to read without crying again.
That was just beautifully put. I think you summed up why this is so incredibly emotional and affecting just exactly the way I feel.
I like the thought of Death feeling close to Hans because of his LSE work, or because Hans is a quiet, observant man, and trying to assume Hans' place. Good idea.
This is probably the saddest book I've ever read.
Ugh. This chapter made me cry and I never cry at books. Never. I'd made it the whole way through the book and then I lost it here, right where Hans Hubermann died.
I bought this book on a summer holiday in America, from a tiny little white-washed bookshop by Lake Michigan. I read it sprawled across an overstuffed armchair in a rented cottage, with my family all reading in their chairs around me. I couldn't stop reading all day. I got to this bit late at night, when the only other person still awake was my dad, sitting there reading quietly across the room from me. And I read Hans Hubermann's death and I looked up at my dad and realised that one day my parents would be gone, and I started to cry. I had to flee into my bedroom and sob there before he noticed that something was wrong.
This was about five years ago. I've never had such a strong reaction to a book since. Zusak, you are a genius and you break my heart.
All the tears, forever and ever ;_;
It’s like the third time this week a review has made me unsuccessfully fight back tears on a bus. My own fault I guess. But still.
This is so horrifying. Knowing that while this is a book, it has actually happened and still does, it just kills me.
And the way it’s narrated. Good lord it sounds so weird saying that it’s beautiful because there’s so much death and destruction, but it is. Death’s description of how he finds the Steiners and the Hubermanns in their beds fills me with a peaceful feeling, which of course will be shattered when Leisel finds them.
This is pretty much the only chapter of a book I have EVER read that I cried (formed tears, rather) reading
I made the mistake of reading this chapter on the train home one day. Thank goodness there was no-one else in the carriage, because it's very un-British to cry in public.
Same situation. I finished this on the plane, and that is the only reason I didn't start bawling my eyes out. I got home, reread it, and THEN I completely sobbed. Especially when she kissed Rudy. That was the saddest part of the whole book for me):
I cannot explain how hard this chapter made me cry. Like, snot, hicupping, tears everywhere- I was a mess. And even though I've read this book before, I STILL cry. REALLY HARD. EVERY TIME. Deathly Hallows didn't make me cry this hard (that was pretty bad too, though).
My heart hurts….
Oh, Mark. Remember when yhou were worried that Hans was going to be an abusive guardian? This feels so much worse.
I'm a huge sap anyway, but yeah, me too, with the crying and the snot and all that. From when Leisel saw Max being marched to the end. And it was super late on Sunday night, but I physically couldn't stop reading. So Monday was kind of rough – I might as well have had a hangover, haha.
I don't think I've ever had a book hit me so hard. And knowing it was coming just made it worse. (I love this book SO hard.)
This fucking chapter.
I read the end of the book in one go, and from the beginning of the chapter till the end, I just cried and cried and cried. I couldn't even sleep (at 4am) cause I couldn't stop crying.
"You were beautiful, mama. You were so goddamn beautiful".
I cried at Dobby's death. I cried for Fred and Moody and Dumbledore and Lupin and Tonks. I cried when the 10th Doctor regenerated (hell, I bawled when Five regenerated). But this book. THIS BOOK…
All the tears. Every single one.
I started reading this chapter on the bus. The bus! I had to hold it together the what felt like hours but was really minutes until I got home and collapsed on my bed and bawled my way through the rest of the book. And then I bawled some more.
It was somewhat okay when Death was taking everyone. The way he described it was beautiful and peaceful and it kind of feels like, at least they are all at rest now. But then Liesel. Damn it, poor Liesel. I've been thinking about how I'd react, if I could ever go on living. I honestly don't know, but I don't think I could. Michael killed himself after losing just his brother. How is Liesel supposed to go on?
Excuse me while I go cry more.
Ugh, I can't even read the review, because I start crying again. Reading this book was an amazing experience and it was wonderful, but I just can't relive these moments. They hurt too much.
I was kind of in shock when I got to the end of this part. I literally didn't even blink for way longer than is healthy. I just sat there and read much slower than I usually read. I sort of felt like I owed it to the characters to really feel their deaths, like I owed it to the book. But I just couldn't cry, I couldn't do anything but sit there and watch it all in my mind.
i can't handle this chapter 🙁
i read this chapter in the living room while my family was watching charlie and the chocolate factory. and i started to sob. and everyone stared at me. and it was embarrassing.
the moment between rudy and liesel killed me. i grew to love rudy and liesel's friendship so much, and now it's over 🙁 and dammit HE NEVER GOT THAT KISS JALKSJDFLAKSDJF
hans and liesel tore me to pieces. he was everything to her and now he's gone 🙁 i just can't THIS BOOK IS SO DEPRESSING.
I remember a Harry Potter review you did about crying. I used to cry a lot at everything sad (someone getting a divorce on TV would set me off) until my teacher told me that I needed to stop being a girl. Boys don't cry and that I'd get bullied in secondary school if I didn't. I haven't cried since…
Until this chapter. I was angry with how Death spoils the story earlier in the book. I couldn't comment on it then cos of spoilers but yeah, I was annoyed but when I got to this chapter, I realised that actually it was probably a good decision because it lulls you into a false sense of security. You've been told what's coming, you're preparing yourself for it then it happens… and that's when it hit: you are never going to be prepared for this.
When she kisses Rudy, I couldn't help but cry. He'd tried to get a kiss for the whole book and only succeeded when it was too late.
I would like to punch your teacher in the face.
Despite only reading your reviews of this book and not the book itself, I still cried like a baby.
It was just soo heartwrenching and gutting to read about Rudy, Rosa and Hans all dieing at the same time.
I-..I just can't..T.T *starts crying again*
He even made a mistake and laughed in lovely hindsight.
That's the part that made me almost cry.
Basically from The End of the World Part 1 my thoughts while reading the book were just "No no no no no no" =/
God, I remember reading this book for the first time, I hadn't been able to put it down and it was the middle of the night and i just sobbed into my pillow. Crying over a book at night is such an overwhelming experience, because it truly feels like it's just you and the characters experiencing this while the rest of the world is asleep.
Little Women, Jellicoe Road, and of course Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows are the only other books that have done specifically this to me, and it served to make me feel an even more profound connection with this book, to feel absolutely convinced in that time that all the beautiful people in it were real and that I knew and loved them more than anyone.
Crying over a book at night is such an overwhelming experience, because it truly feels like it's just you and the characters experiencing this while the rest of the world is asleep.
Looking for Alaska was like this for me. Man, I hope Mark reads some John Green someday. Also, Jellicoe Road is fucking amazing. I need to reread that.
Jeez, Looking for Alaska. I was unfortunately spoiled for that book but it still had a huge impact, John Green definitely should be read. (And are you ever right about Jellicoe Road, it's not just a good story, but a fantastic experience to read).
I'm only reading your review, but its caused me to cry all over again. How a book manages to convey such happiness and sadness, such cruel irony and beauty…I don't know. But its enough to make tears, one way or another.
I bawl every time I read this chapter. I even teared up reading the excerpts on my phone during class today. (LOL I'M A GOOD STUDENT) This is my favorite kind of book- the one that is so freaking beautiful, you can't help but cry over even if it's your 50th time reading it. This book is the kind of book to immerse yourself in, and there's no better way out than to sob heartbrokenly over the characters at night with a flashlight. The Book Thief is the kind of magical book that never, ever gets old or repetitive, and I credit this partly to Zusak's incredible skill with language. The man can write in a way that you never forget, or at least in a way I know I won't. This is, and will always remain, one of my very favorite books.
This reminds me of a book I read once, where you know one character dies from the beginning, and you just kind of keep waiting to see how/when it happens, and then another character dies in the process and you're stunned. That's how I felt in reading this. I was so focused on Rudy dying, that the fact that everyone else dies comes as a shock in the first End of the World section, even though Death pretty much reveals that this will happen in the very beginning. it's a testament to Zusak's writing that this doesn't feel like a gimmick, but reads brilliantly instead. I am surprised, but I do not feel tricked or misled. That's tricky to do, and I am endlessly impressed with Zusak's style. Anyway, I'm going to go cry a river of tears now…
Oh, Mark. This chapter made me cry, and then your review made me cry all over again. THIS BOOK. sob.
I don't know about anyone else, but I've come to think of Death as more of an angel type figure than just death personified.
I wept during this chapter. Rudy, especially. I've got a best friend who's exactly like him, and I think that's partly to do with it.
I've had exams all week so I hadn't been able to keep up, but I just read everything today. Dear God, this chapter. Ugh. I was sobbing, and then I cried some more reading your reviews. I think what gets me is that, while I knew Rudy would die, I didn't expect it to be like this. I thought for all of them it would be something "heroic" – freeing Max or subtly fighting back against the NAZIs. But to just be killed when you were asleep, unaware that it was coming… TEARS FOREVER!
It took me a very long time to read this book, but this chapter really made it worth reading. It made it worthwhile not becuase I like the way things ended for these characters (I obviously wanted them to live), but becuase it was such a powerful set of descriptions. I wanted Hans and Rudy to live especially, but they got such great words
I really cried when it mentioned rudy dieing.I just couldnt help it rudy was such a nice and interesting character and i really thought he would have lived.When she saw rudys body i could hold back my tears but once she kissed him one and started crying and asking him to come back i just cried the rest of the book was full of tears.