The Book Thief
by Markus Zusak
The Book Thief Chapter 11 Summary
The Smell of Friendship
- This routine – nightmare, then reading lesson – continued on into the summer.
- One day, Hans and Liesel offer to deliver the washing for Rosa. Then they go to the Amper River, which extends past the town, toward Dachau, the concentration camp.
- (Dachau was established in 1933, when Hitler took power, and was one of the first detention camps established by the Nazis. Read about the history of Dachau here.)
- Hans plays the accordion. He looks perplexed by something, but Liesel doesn't understand the look until later.
- The look is connected with the accordion, and the story is connected with the man who will soon show up at the Hubermanns' home.
- The trips to Amper continue, unless the weather didn't permit, in which case they use the basement.
- Since they are running low on sandpaper, Hans begins using the wall instead. When the wall gets too full of words, he paints over them, and they start again.
- Sometimes Liesel hears Rosa telling Hans that he smells bad – "like cigarettes and kerosene" (11.58). (Kerosene is used to clean paintbrushes.)
- To Liesel, the smell is wonderful; it's "the smell of friendship, and she could find it on herself, too" (11.59).