Summary and Analysis
Epilogue: The Last Color:
Wood in the Afternoon
Ilsa Hermann and the mayor pick Liesel up at the police station; they call her the girl with the accordion. At 8 Grande Strasse, Liesel talks to herself through the night. She has no dreams and hates waking up. For four days she hardly eats and doesn't bathe, not even on the day of Rosa and Hans's funeral; she carries the dirt and destruction of Himmel Street with her, and she visits the Amper River to speak to Rudy. Eventually, she remembers her books and returns to the site of the bombing to retrieve them, but she can't find any. Alex Steiner, given leave because of the bombing, returns and visits Liesel. He regrets not letting Rudy go away to that school; he wishes he could have been on Himmel Street instead of his son. Liesel tells him that she kissed Rudy's lips after the bombing, which embarrasses her, but she wanted him to know. The afternoon is silver.
Just as Ilsa Hermann provided refuge for Liesel with her library, now she comes to offer Liesel a place in their home. Throughout the novel, Frau Hermann has nourished Liesel with words and it was her gift that saved Liesel's life. In this chapter, Frau Hermann continues to fill the role as Liesel's rescuer.
Liesel's decision not to wash the dirt of the Himmel Street bombing from her body indicates how she is carrying the events of that day with her, physically and emotionally. She serves as a reminder, too, to those at the funeral who see the girl covered in so much grime.
Death's description of the silver sky during Liesel's chat with Alex Steiner recalls the silver eyes of Hans Hubermann and how he is watching over his daughter.