At our August meeting, we read and discussed chapter 1 – “Arrival on Himmel Street” up to chapter 2 “Saumensch” of “The Book Thief”. The page references in this blog are to the 10th anniversary Black Swan edition of 2016.
For next time, we will read up to the end of Part One – The Gravedigger’s Handbook. Next time will be Wednesday October 4th.
Some of the ideas and themes we discussed in our August meeting were:
- the final solution, an expression which now has only one, stark, meaning for all Jews and Europeans everywhere.
- “the nothingness of life moving on with a shuffle” (p.28) is perhaps a reference to Hamlet’s famous “To be or not to be” speech in which he says
“For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause”
- “the relative you cringe to kiss”
- the interesting image of “empty hat-stand trees”
- “The book thief had struck for the first time”, where the word “strike” has the meaning of #1 and #5 of these definitions on ALC.