The Book Thief

By: Markus Zusak

PROLOGUE





a mountain range of rubble





in which our narrator introduces:

himself the colors and the book thief





DEATH AND CHOCOLATE





First the colors.



Then the humans.



Thats usually how I see things.



Or at least, how I try.





HERE IS A SMALL FACT

You are going to die.





I am in all truthfulness attempting to be cheerful about this whole topic, though most people find themselves hindered in believing me, no matter my protestations. Please, trust me. I most definitely can be cheerful. I can be amiable. Agreeable. Affable. And thats only the As. Just dont ask me to be nice. Nice has nothing to do with me.





REACTION TO THE

AFOREMENTIONED FACT

Does this worry you?

I urge youdont be afraid.

Im nothing if not fair.





Of course, an introduction.



A beginning.



Where are my manners?



I could introduce myself properly, but its not really necessary. You will know me well enough and soon enough, depending on a diverse range of variables. It suffices to say that at some point in time, I will be standing over you, as genially as possible. Your soul will be in my arms. A color will be perched on my shoulder. I will carry you gently away.



At that moment, you will be lying there (I rarely find people standing up). You will be caked in your own body. There might be a discovery; a scream will dribble down the air. The only sound Ill hear after that will be my own breathing, and the sound of the smell, of my footsteps.



The question is, what color will everything be at that moment when I come for you? What will the sky be saying?



Personally, I like a chocolate-colored sky. Dark, dark chocolate. People say it suits me. I do, however, try to enjoy every color I seethe whole spectrum. A billion or so flavors, none of them quite the same, and a sky to slowly suck on. It takes the edge off the stress. It helps me relax.





A SMALL THEORY

People observe the colors of a day only at its beginnings and

ends, but to me its quite clear that a day merges through a

multitude of shades and intonations, with each passing

moment. A single hour can consist of thousands of different

colors. Waxy yellows, cloud-spat blues. Murky darknesses.

In my line of work, I make it a point to notice them.





As Ive been alluding to, my one saving grace is distraction. It keeps me sane. It helps me cope, considering the length of time Ive been performing this job. The trouble is, who could ever replace me? Who could step in while I take a break in your stock-standard resort-style vacation destination, whether it be tropical or of the ski trip variety? The answer, of course, is nobody, which has prompted me to make a conscious, deliberate decisionto make distraction my vacation. Needless to say, I vacation in increments. In colors.



Still, its possible that you might be asking, why does he even need a vacation? What does he need distraction from?



Which brings me to my next point.



Its the leftover humans.



The survivors.



Theyre the ones I cant stand to look at, although on many occasions I still fail. I deliberately seek out the colors to keep my mind off them, but now and then, I witness the ones who are left behind, crumbling among the jigsaw puzzle of realization, despair, and surprise. They have punctured hearts. They have beaten lungs.



Which in turn brings me to the subject I am telling you about tonight, or today, or whatever the hour and color. Its the story of one of those perpetual survivorsan expert at being left behind.



Its just a small story really, about, among other things:



A girl



Some words



An accordionist



Some fanatical Germans



A Jewish fist fighter



And quite a lot of thievery



I saw the book thief three times.





BESIDE THE RAILWAY LINE





First up is something white. Of the blinding kind.



Some of you are most likely thinking that white is not really a color and all of that tired sort of nonsense. Well, Im here to tell you that it is. White is without question a color, and personally, I dont think you want to argue with me.





A REASSURING ANNOUNCEMENT

Please, be calm, despite that previous threat.

I am all bluster

I am not violent.

I am not malicious.

I am a result.





Yes, it was white.



It felt as though the whole globe was dressed in snow. Like it had pulled it on, the way you pull on a sweater. Next to the train line, footprints were sunken to their shins. Trees wore blankets of ice.