INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER • Hailed for its coiled eroticism and the moral claims it makes upon the reader, this mesmerizing novel is a story of love and secrets, horror and compassion, unfolding against the haunted landscape of postwar Germany.
"A formally beautiful, disturbing and finally morally devastating novel." —Los Angeles Times
When he falls ill on his way home from school, fifteen-year-old Michael Berg is rescued by Hanna, a woman twice his age. In time she becomes his lover—then she inexplicably disappears. When Michael next sees her, he is a young law student, and she is on trial for a hideous crime. As he watches her refuse to defend her innocence, Michael gradually realizes that Hanna may be guarding a secret she considers more shameful than murder.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
How should a nation deal with the aftermath of atrocities it has committed? And how can subsequent generations forgive those who came before? Bernhard Schlink’s The Reader grapples with questions like these. It’s a daring, terse novel that follows Michael—a German who was a child during World War II—and his passionate-but-conflicted relationship with the mysterious former concentration camp guard Hanna. Schlink presents a nuanced and engrossing view of post-Nazi Germany, exploring regret, atonement, and shame in a thoughtful parable. The 2008 film adaptation is worth watching, especially for Kate Winslet’s Oscar-winning performance as Hanna, but the book dives deeper, raising questions that have no easy answers and are too important to ignore.
When Michael Berg began attending the Nazi war trials as part of a college class, he never expected to find Hanna\x97an older woman who had seduced him when he was a teenager\x97as one of the accused. Berg is himself paralyzed by a moral dilemma that may free her, but also destroy her. Schlink uses this intriguing and complex relationship to engage issues of identity, ego and freedom of choice that are emphasized within the backdrop of the Holocaust. Campbell Scott proves an excellent narrator, with an eloquent and precise tone that gives a reflective distance to this first-person account, emphasizing the Berg's evolution as he grows from youth into adult. Scott's deliberate delivery also emphasizes Berg's emerging maturity; initially, his deliberateness hints at insecurity while later on, Scott's steady reading indicates experience. A Vintage paperback.
A moving and interesting book.
An excellent read
I have read this book twice in two different decades of my life. Each times it makes me wonder, cry and enjoy this wonderful piece of work.