Markus Zusak（马克斯·苏萨克），1975年出生于悉尼，30岁时已成为当代澳大利亚文学界获奖最多、著作最丰、读者群最广的作家。迄今已出版：《输家》（The Underdog）、《与鲁本·乌尔夫战斗》（The Fighting Ruben Wolfe，美国图书馆协会青少年类最佳图书）、《得到那女孩》（Getting the Girl）、《报信者》（I Am the Messenger，澳大利亚儿童图书协会年度最佳图书奖）。《偷书贼》的故事源自他幼年时父母讲述的情节，第二次世界大战时他的父母曾经亲眼目睹盟军轰炸汉堡之后的惨状，也看过纳粹押解犹太人前往死亡集中营的悲剧。苏萨克说，父母讲述的情景他一直记在心里，他知道自己总有一天会把这些故事写成书。伴随着《偷书贼》的出版，他被澳大利亚和美国的评论家称之为“文学现象”。
Books everywhere! Each wall 1)was armed with overcrowded yet 2)immaculate shelving. It was barely possible to see the 3)paintwork. There were all different styles and sizes of 4)lettering on the 5)spines of the black, the red, the gray, the every-colored books. It was one of the most beautiful things Liesel Meminger had ever seen.
With wonder, she smiled. That such a room existed!
Even when she tried to wipe the smile away with her forearm, she realized instantly that it was a 6)pointless exercise. She could feel the eyes of the woman traveling her body, and when she looked at her, they had rested on her face. There was more silence than she ever thought possible. It extended like an elastic, dying to break. The girl broke it.
“Can I?” The two words stood among acres and acres of vacant, wooden-floored land. The books were miles away.
The woman nodded. Yes, you can.
Steadily, the room shrank, till the book thief could touch the shelves within a few small steps. She ran the back of her hand along the first shelf, listening to the 7)shuffle of her fingernails gliding across the 8)spinal cord of each book. It sounded like an instrument, or the notes of running feet. She used both hands. She raced them. One shelf against the other. And she laughed. Her voice was 9)sprawled out, high in her throat, and when she eventually stopped and stood in the middle of the room, she spent many minutes looking from the shelves to her fingers and back again.
How many books had she touched? How many had she felt?
She walked over and did it again, this time much slower, with her hand facing forward, allowing the 10)dough of her palm to feel the small 11)hurdle of each book. It felt like magic, like beauty, as bright lines of light shone down from a 12)chandelier. Several times, she almost pulled a 13)title from its place but didn’t dare disturb them. They were too perfect.
To her left, she saw the woman again, standing by a large desk, still holding the small tower against her 14)torso. She stood with a delighted 15)crookedness. A smile appeared to have 16)paralyzed her lips.
“Do you want me to—?” Liesel didn’t finish the question but actually performed what she was going to ask, walking over and taking the books gently from the woman’s arms. She then placed them into the missing piece in the shelf, by the slightly open window. The outside cold was streaming in. For a moment, she considered closing it, but thought better of it. This was not her house, and the situation was not to be 17)tampered with. Instead, she returned to the lady behind her, whose smile 18)gave the appearance now of a bruise and whose arms were hanging 19)slenderly at each side.
What now?An 20)awkwardness 21)treated itself to the room, and Liesel took a final, fleeting glance at the walls of books. In her mouth, the words 22)fidgeted, but they came out in a rush. “I should go.”
It took three attempts to leave. She waited in the 23)hallway for a few minutes, but the woman didn’t come, and when Liesel returned to the entrance of the room, she saw her sitting at the desk, staring 24)blankly at one of the books. She chose not to disturb her. In the hallway, she picked up the washing. When she closed the door behind her, a brass 25)clank sounded in her ear, and with the washing next to her, she stroked the flesh of the wood. “Get going,” she said.
At first, she walked home 26)dazed. The 27)surreal experience with the roomful of books and the stunned, 28)broken woman walked alongside her. She could see it on the buildings, like a play. Wherever she looked, Liesel saw the mayor’s wife with the books piled up in her arms. Around corners, she could hear the shuffle of her own hands, disturbing the shelves…
Even from the cellar, they could vaguely hear the tune of bombs. Air pressure shoved itself down like a ceiling, as if to 29)mash the earth. A bite was taken of 30)Molching’s empty streets.
The sound of crying children kicked and punched. 31)Grimy tears were loosened from children’s eyes, and the smell of night breath, underarm sweat, and 32)overworn clothes was stirred and stewed in what was now a 33)cauldron swimming with humans.
For comfort, to shut out the 34)din of the basement, Liesel opened one of her books and began to read. The book on top of the pile was 35)The Whistler and she spoke it aloud to help her concentrate. The opening paragraph was 36)numb in her ears.
“What did you say?” Mama roared, but Liesel ignored her. She remained focused on the first page. When she turned to page two, it was Rudy who noticed. He paid direct attention to what Liesel was reading, and he tapped his brother and his sisters, telling them to do the same. Hans Hubermann came closer and called out, and soon, a quietness started 37)bleeding through the crowded basement. By page three, everyone was silent but Liesel.
She didn’t dare to look up, but she could feel their frightened eyes hanging on to her as she hauled the words in and breathed them out. A voice played the notes inside her. This, it said, is your 38)accordion. The sound of the turning page carved them in half. Liesel read on.
For at least 20 minutes, she handed out the story. The youngest kids were 39)soothed by her voice, and everyone else saw visions of the whistler running from the crime scene. Liesel did not. The book thief saw only the mechanics of the words—their bodies 40)stranded on the paper, beaten down for her to walk on.
Everyone waited for the ground to shake. That was still an 41)immutable fact, but at least they were distracted now, by the girl with the book. One of the younger boys 42)contemplated crying again, but Liesel stopped at that moment and imitated her papa, or even Rudy for that matter. She winked at him and resumed.
Only when the 43)sirens leaked into the cellar again did someone interrupt her. “We’re safe,” said Mr. Jenson. “Shhh!” said Frau Holtzapfel.
Liesel looked up. “There are only two paragraphs till the end of the chapter,” she said, and she continued reading with no 44)fanfare or added speed. Just the words. Out of respect, the adults kept everyone quiet, and Liesel finished chapter one of The Whistler.
On their way up the stairs, the children rushed by her, but many of the older people thanked the girl for the distraction. They did so as they made their way past and hurried from the house to see if Himmel Street had 45)sustained any damage.
Himmel Street was 46)untouched.