It’s November thirteenth and I’ve awoken on a day so warm that my patio door is wide open and the sunlight is streaming onto my bed. I woke up here this morning bathing in the peace and quiet that is unusual for my house of six, stealing moments (ironically) to finish The Book Thief and peeking up occasionally from its pages to observe the silver streak of sea beyond my balcony and the still silhouettes of high-rise apartments on Valencia’s beaches.
It is a perfect morning. Arianna cooked breakfast for her sisters. They’ve played together happily (mostly.)
And I’m up now with a splitting headache and the feeling that I’ve been beaten up, bruised, battered.
By the book.
It intrigued me the moment I picked it up, pulled me in bit by bit and even when I thought that may be I didn’t like it, I began to love it and each character within, every rough edge and curse word, every unsettling moment and act of thievery.
It’s the first time I heard Death tell a tale. At least that I can remember. And if I had to judge Death by his reading here, I’d say I liked him and might possibly invite him to Thanksgiving in a couple weeks. He can come for the turkey.
I just took the last swallow of my coffee with four Advil after standing in a daze in my kitchen for the last hour busying myself with dishes and idle chatter.
The hour before I’d been sitting in my Spanish paradise with tears streaming freely down my face while I mourned these rough Germans in this tiny town near Munich who have long since passed if they ever existed. It’s a perspective I haven’t heard much before. A new sad twist to a tragedy that is so much bigger than any of us can actually realize. A story that makes me sad for the world, yet happy to know it. The story and the world.
Death’s last line. “I am haunted by humans.”
I am too. And by this book. Which battered me with words and a story and a truth.
Powerful words. Powerful ideas. This book is one to read and lend and recommend, then read again.