The Reader

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Pantheon Books, 1997 - Female offenders - 218 pages
201 Reviews
The Reader is both a literary surprise and a moral challenge: a riveting, provocative, and deeply moving novel about a young boy's erotic awakening in a passionate, clandestine love affair with an older woman, and what happens to them both when the secrets in her past are revealed. Fifteen-year-old Michael Berg becomes ill on the way home from school. A woman takes care of him. Later, the boy arrives at her home with a bunch of flowers to thank her. And then comes back again. Hanna is the first woman he has ever desired. But there is something slightly off-key about her. His questions about her family and her life go unanswered. One day Hanna simply disappears. Michael's life goes on, but he can't forget her. Years later, as a law student observing a trial in Germany, Michael is shocked to realize that the person in the dock is Hanna. The woman he had loved so passionately is a criminal. Much about her behavior during the trial makes no sense. But then, suddenly and terribly, it does - Hanna is not only obliged to answer for a horrible crime, she is also desperately concealing an even deeper secret. As the past erupts into the present - both Michael's past with Hanna, and the past of Germany itself - Michael must accept that he will never be free of either of them.

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Pace: The pace of this novella was very steady. - Goodreads
The plot feels clumsy to me. - Goodreads
Schlink has a wonderful writing style. - Goodreads
I think the writing reflects the numbness. - Goodreads
I was really into the love story and the pages flew by. - Goodreads
I didn't care for the writing style. - Goodreads
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A little boring in the middle. but the beginning and end are interesting.

Review: The Reader

User Review  - Chris - Goodreads

Earlier this year, I read The Children's Bookby AS Byatt, and the book stuck with me. The Reader is something like that, though it sticks with me in a different way. Both books make you think, but The ... Read full review

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About the author (1997)

Bernhard Schlink was born in Germany in 1944. He is a professor of law at the University of Berlin and a judge. He is the author of the major international best-selling novel The Reader as well as several prize-winning detective novels that are now being translated into English. He lives in Bonn and Berlin, Germany.

Janeway is a translator.

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