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The Book Thief
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The Book Thief Chapter 22 Summary
The Mayor's Library
Liesel knows the mayor's wife saw her stealing the book, and she's paranoid.
She's really afraid to deliver laundry to the mayor's house on Grande Strasse.
Rudy goes with her (though he doesn't know why she's afraid).
After much time-killing, Liesel knocks on the door of the mayor's house.
The mayor's wife answers the door, takes the washing, and gives Liesel the money.
Then she closes the door.
Liesel is a little dazed. Maybe, just maybe, she hadn't been seen book-thieving.
Nope, Death tells us that she was, indeed, seen by the mayor's wife, but the woman is "just waiting for the right moment" (22.36) to let her know.
One day, Liesel goes to the mayor's house without Rudy.
When the mayor's wife opens the door, she asks Liesel to come in.
She tells Liesel to wait.
Liesel thinks she'll come back with the dirty laundry, but instead she comes with a huge stack of books.
Liesel is very afraid! She thinks the mayor's wife is going to do something awful to her.
Instead, she invites Liesel into a room full of books!
Shelves and shelves of books cover the walls.
Liesel has never seen anything like it.
She asks if she can touch them, and the mayor's wife gives her the OK.
After touching as many books as possible, Liesel takes the stack of books the mayor is holding and puts them in their place on one of the shelves.
The window is open in the room, and it's very cold.
Liesel notices that the mayor's wife looks very damaged.
After some time, Liesel leaves. She walks home in a dream.
She realizes she didn't thank the mayor's wife. How could she be so rude?
So, she turns back.
But, the mayor answers the door. His wife, Ilsa Hermann comes and stands next to him, looking again as if she's in pain.
Liesel stammers. The mayor's wife gives her a very slight nod.
After the door closes, Liesel smiles.
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