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The Book Thief

The Book Thief

by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief Chapter 53 Summary

Champagne and Accordions

  • It's still the summer of 1942. Molching is preparing for the possibility of a bomb attack.
  • Hans gets a little work painting people's window blinds black.
  • Liesel goes with him on the jobs.
  • He's usually paid with a snack, a hot drink, or a smoke.
  • Later Death will read about Liesel's memories of the summer in the book she will write.
  • As he works, he tells her stories, taking time-out to play the accordion.
  • Liesel is really interested in how her Papa mixes paint. The paint comes in a block and is rolled out with a thick bottle – a champagne bottle is best – and then turned into the liquid paint we are used to seeing.
  • One day, when they are painting at a wealthy home, Hans and Liesel are invited to the kitchen, and Liesel has her first taste of champagne.
  • Later, he asks Liesel not to tell Rosa.
  • She ask if it's OK to tell Max. Hans says that it is.
  • Later, when Liesel writes the book of her life, she'll "[vow] that she [will] never drink champagne again" (53.25). There's no way it can ever be as delicious as the first time.
  • She feels the same way about the accordion.
  • Sometimes, the sound of Hans playing makes her taste champagne.
  • She's really having a splendid time.
  • But, the bombs are being dropped like crazy – suffering was on the way.
  • Now, we are given the first word from The Complete Duden Dictionary and Thesaurus, which this Part of The Book Thief is named after: "Zufriedenheit – Happiness" (53.38). (Read the book for the definition!)

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