Markus Zusak’s “The Book Thief” Quotes (140 Quotes)



    Grimly, she realized that clocks don't make a sound that even remotely resembles ticking, tocking. It was more the sound of a hammer, upside down, hacking methodically at the earth. It was the sound of a grave.

    I like that every page in every book can have a gem on it. It's probably what I love most about writing--that words can be used in a way that's like a child playing in a sandpit, rearranging things, swapping them around. They're the best moments in a day of writing -- when an image appears that you didn't know would be there when you started work in the morning.

    It was the beginning of the greatest Christmas ever. Little food. No presents. But there was a snowman in their basement.



    So many humans. So many colours. They keep triggering inside me. They harass my memory. I see them tall in their heaps, all mounted on top of each other. There is air like plastic, a horizon like setting glue. There are skies manufactured by people, punctured and leaking, and there are soft, coal-coloured clouds, beating, like black hearts. And then. There is death. Making his way through all of it. On the surface: unflappable, unwavering. Below: unnerved, untied, and undone.


    There was no one to really argue with, but Mama managed it expertly every chance she had. She could argue with the entire world in that kitchen and almost every evening, she did.

    When she faced the noise, she found the mayor's wife in a brand-new bathrobe and slippers. On the breast pocket of the robe sat an embroidered swastika. Propaganda even reached the bathroom.

    A statue of the book thief stood in the courtyard... it's very rare, don't you think, for a statue to appear before it's subject has become famous?


    I only know that all of those people would have sensed me that night, excluding the youngest of the children. I was the suggestion. I was the advice, my imagined feet walking into the kitchen and down the corridor.




    The nightmares arrived like they always did, much like the best player in the opposition when you've heard rumors that he might be injured or sick-but there he is, warming up with the rest of them, ready to take the field.



    After perhaps thirty meters, just as a soldier turned around, the girl was felled. Hands were clamped upon her from behind and the boy next door brought her down. He forced her knees to the road and suffered the penalty. He collected her punches as if they were presents. Her bony hands and elbows were accepted with nothing but a few short moans. He accumulated the loud, clumsy specks of saliva and tears as if they were lovely to his face, and more important, he was able to hold her down.




    Or had she always loved him? It's likely. Restricted as she was from speaking, she wanted him to kiss her. She wanted him to drag her hand across and pull her over. It didn't matter where. Her mouth, her neck, her cheek. Her skin was empty for it, waiting.

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



    Whoever named Himmel Street certainly had a healthy sense of irony. Not that is was a living hell. It wasn't. But is sure as hell wasn't heaven, either.

    All told, she owned fourteen books, but she saw her story as being made up predominantly of ten of them. Of those ten, six were stolen, one showed up at the kitchen table, two were made for her by a hidden Jew, and one was delivered by a soft, yellow-dressed afternoon.

    He was hanging from one of the rafters in a laundry up near Frau Diller's. Another human pendulum. Another clock, stopped.

    I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damning and brilliant.



    Sometimes I imagined how everything looked above those clouds, knowing without question that the sun was blond, and the endless atmosphere was a giant blue eye

    The orange flames waved at the crowd as paper and print dissolved inside them. Burning words were torn from their sentences.


    Within minutes, mounds of concrete and earth were stacked and piled. The streets were ruptured veins. Blood streamed till it was dried on the road, and the bodies were stuck there, like driftwood after the flood.


    He was skinny with soft hair, and his thick, murky eyes watched as the stranger played one more song in the heavy room. From face to face, he looked on as the man played and the woman wept. The different notes handled her eyes. Such sadness.

    I wanted to explain that I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race - that rarely do I even simply estimate it. I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damning and brilliant...I AM HAUNTED BY HUMANS.


    Please believe me when I tell you that I picked up each soul that day as if it were newly born. I even kissed a few weary, poisoned cheeks. I listened to their last, gasping cries. Their vanishing words. I watched their love visions and freed them from their fear.

    Somewhere, far down, there was an itch in his heart, but he made it a point not to scratch it. He was afraid of what might come leaking out.


    They were frightened, no question, but they were not afraid of me. It was a fear of messing up and having to face themselves again, and facing the world, and the likes of you.

    Yes, I'm often reminded of her, and in one of my array of pockets, I have kept her story to retell. It is one of the small legion I carry, each one extraordinary in its own right. Each one an attempt - an immense leap of an attempt - to prove to me that you, and your human existence, are worth it.

    And I can promise you something, because it was a thing I saw many years later - a vision in the book thief herself - that as she knelt next to Hans Hubermann, she watched him stand and play the accordion. He stood and strapped it on in the alps of broken houses and played the accordion with kindness silver eyes and even a cigarette slouched on his lips. The bellows breathed and the tall man played for Liesel Meminger one last time as the sky was slowly taken away from her.

    He watched them grow, until eventually, great forests of words had risen throughout Germany.... It was a nation of farmed thoughts.


    Late in February, she stood on Munich Street and watched a single giant cloud come over the hills like a white monster. It climbed the mountains. The sun was eclipsed, and in its place, a white beast with a gray heart watched the town.

    Rosa Hubermann was sitting on the edge of the bed with her husband's accordion tied to her chest. Her fingers hovered above the keys. She did not move. She didn't ever appear to be breathing.


    More Markus Zusak Quotations (Based on Topics)


    Books - World - People - Beauty - Faces - Water - Love - Death & Dying - Woman - Fear - Happiness - Night - Memory - Perfection - Work & Career - Children - Mind - Place - Cities - View All Markus Zusak Quotations

    More Markus Zusak Quotations (By Book Titles)


    - I am the Messenger
    - The Book Thief

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