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The Reader (1995)

by Bernhard Schlink

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
11,711363379 (3.7)436
For 15-year-old Michael Berg, a chance meeting with an older woman leads to far more than he ever imagined. The woman in question is Hanna, and before long they embark on a passionate, clandestine love affair which leaves Michael both euphoric and confused. For Hanna is not all she seems. 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 is a criminal. Much about her behaviour during the trial does not make 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. 'A tender, horrifying novel that shows blazingly well how the Holocaust should be dealt with in fiction.… (more)
  1. 112
    The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (bookcrazyblog, lucyknows)
    bookcrazyblog: Though book thief is understood to be Teen-read, it is deep and enthralling. If you liked The Reader for anything beyond its sensuality in the first part, you will love Book Thief
    lucyknows: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak may linked with The Reader by Bernhard Schlink using the themes of reading, Nazi Germany and death. You could also pair it with the graphic novel Maus by Art Spiegelman. Atonement by Ian McEwan could work as well because of the young protagonists, war, and reading.… (more)
  2. 20
    In My Brother's Shadow: A Life and Death in the SS by Uwe Timm (Tinwara)
    Tinwara: Autobiographical account that also deals with the post war generation in Germany, trying to come to an understanding of how loved persons can make the wrong decisions.
  3. 10
    Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum (bnbookgirl)
    bnbookgirl: One of my top ten fav's.
  4. 10
    Without Blood by Alessandro Baricco (2810michael)
  5. 10
    Let Me Go by Helga Schneider (Booksloth)
  6. 00
    Julia by Otto de Kat (charl08)
    charl08: Both novels deal with the after effects of Nazism, felt many years after the war ends.
  7. 00
    The Travels of Daniel Ascher by Déborah Lévy-Bertherat (OneOfDem)
  8. 00
    The Girl at the Lion d'Or by Sebastian Faulks (MissBrangwen)
  9. 00
    A Child of Hitler by Alfons Heck (AlisonY)
    AlisonY: Written by a German child who became a high-ranking leader of the Hitler Youth, this autobiography picks up on the theme from 'The Reader' about what made some people join the Nazi party
  10. 00
    Before I Knew Him by Anna Ralph (1Owlette)
  11. 11
    Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton (1Owlette)
  12. 11
    Enduring Love by Ian McEwan (lucyknows)
    lucyknows: The Reader could be successfully paired with Enduring Love for English Studies. In addition either book could also be be paired with the film The Talented Mr Ripley under the theme of obsession
  13. 23
    Close Range by Annie Proulx (1Owlette)
    1Owlette: Although very different in many ways, [The Reader] and [Brokeback Mountain] are both similarly devastating and concentrated in their impact.
  14. 01
    Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel (Cecilturtle)
  15. 01
    Berlin by Pierre Frei (Johanna11)
    Johanna11: Although the books are very different in many respects, both are about Berlin after WWII and about Germans during WWII and after.

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» See also 436 mentions

English (319)  Spanish (11)  Dutch (9)  German (5)  Finnish (3)  Swedish (3)  French (3)  Catalan (2)  Norwegian (1)  Danish (1)  Korean (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Italian (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (361)
Showing 1-5 of 319 (next | show all)
Először láttam a filmet, aztán lettem kíváncsi az eredeti regényre. Nagyon izgalmas kérdéseket vet fel, melyek ugyan konkrét történelmi eseményhez kapcsolódnak, de az erkölcsi mondanivalójuk időtlen és mindig aktuális. Emberi méltóságról beszél, miközben emberek tucatjainak halálával foglalkozik. Nagyon finoman árnyalja a másokért való felelősség témáját is, akár a fiú, akár a nő szempontjából. Különleges szerelmi történet egyben, de inkább két ember sorsának egymásba fonódása. ( )
  gjudit8 | Aug 3, 2020 |
The Reader by Bernhard Schlink was originally published in Germany in 1995 and is a beautifully written story of love, compassion and secrets as Michael, a young German boy becomes involved with Hanna, a woman twice his age.

They become lovers until she suddenly moves on, leaving him wondering if he had done something to drive her away. A number of years pass by and now, as a young law student, he sees Hanna again. This time she is a defendant in a war crimes trial. Michael is concerned as he watches her refuse to defend herself and he gradually realizes that she is covering up something that she considers more shameful than the things she is being accused of.

The Reader is a disturbing story made all the more devastating by it’s heart-felt simplicity. It is both a coming-of-age tale and the story of a second generation German coming to terms with the Holocaust. The story makes a strong impact and I know that I will be thinking about this haunting story of guilt and longing for some time. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Jul 25, 2020 |
So I got this poster with 99 books you should have read.
This book is on it and I really don't know why it is considered to be a book you have to read.

There is only one good thing I can say about the book: It is short. I read it within two hours.

I am so glad I never had to read that in school.
But I can see why many teachers choose that book for their students to read. There are tons of things you can discuss and analyze.

I think the book was very boring and stupid and many things didn't make sense.
Also I really hated the writing.
Especially the descriptions of their affair made me cringe so much. Not because it was wrong and taboo but because the way it was written. ( )
  jinxmoon | Jun 22, 2020 |
Sie ist reizbar, rätselhaft und viel älter als er... und sie wird seine erste Leidenschaft. Eines Tages ist sie spurlos verschwunden. Erst Jahre später sieht er sie wieder - als Angeklagte im Gerichtssaal. Die fast kriminalistische Erforschung einer sonderbaren Liebe und bedrängenden Vergangenheit.

Auf dem Nachhauseweg gerät der fünfzehnjährige Michael Berg in eine heikle Situation. Eine Frau, Mitte dreißig, kümmert sich um ihn. Später kommt der Junge mit einem Blumenstrauß, um sich zu bedanken. Und er kommt wieder. Hanna ist die erste Frau, die er begehrt. Eine heimliche Liebe beginnt. Doch es ist etwas Düsteres, Reizbares um Hanna. Seine Fragen, wer sie war und ist, weist sie schroff zurück. Eines Tages ist sie verschwunden. Aus Michaels Leben, nicht aus seinem Gedächtnis. Als Jurastudent sieht er Hanna im Gerichtssaal wieder. Der junge Mann erleidet einen Schock. Er hat eine Verbrecherin geliebt. Vieles an Hannas Verhalten im Prozess ergibt keinen Reim. Bis es ihm wie Schuppen von den Augen fällt: Sie hat nicht nur eine grauenhafte Tat zu verantworten, sie hat auch ihr verzweifelt gehütetes Geheimnis. Die Vergangenheit bricht auf – die seiner Liebe und die deutsche Vergangenheit. Michael muss erleben, dass er von beiden Vergangenheiten nicht loskommt. Eine Frauengestalt, mit der man auch als Leser nicht einfach fertig wird. Und das Dilemma einer Generation.

  Fredo68 | May 14, 2020 |

It's should be difficult to screw up a novel about a Nazi teen molester, but it happens in The Reader.
This slim novel tells the story of an affair between 15 y.o. Michael and 36 y.o. Hanna, with whom he has an affair in West Germany in 1958. After a laughably stupid seduction the two are having an affair.

I guess this is shocking? I don't know. I can't really muster much moral outrage at statutory rape when it is set against the background of the Holocaust. (SO not a prude, thankyouverymuch..!). Moreover, the scenes between the two "lovers" are written in such a mundane, clinical fashion, that I could only speculate that Schlink didn't do such things. Ever. (In reality, Schlink is a judge, and I suppose the detached, just-the-facts-ness of The Reader could be compared to a legal brief....??)

The affair goes on for awhile. It doesn't generate much heat, since both the main characters are constructed out of cardboard. Like paper dolls. The title is also explained - partially - because Michael must read aloud to Hanna before they boff. That sound you hear is my eyes rolling.... ( )
  stephanie_M | Apr 30, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 319 (next | show all)
What starts out as a story of sexual awakening, something that Colette might have written, a ''Cherie and the Last of Cherie'' set in Germany after the war, is suddenly darkened by history and tragic secrets. In the end, one is both moved and disturbed, saddened and confused, and, above all, powerfully affected by a tale that seems to bear with it the weight of truth.
Schlink's daring fusion of 19th-century post-romantic, post-fairy-tale models with the awful history of the 20th century makes for a moving, suggestive and ultimately hopeful work, an original contribution to the impossible genre with the questionable name of Vergangenheitsbewaltigung, ''coming to terms with the past.''

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bernhard Schlinkprimary authorall editionscalculated
Janeway, Carol BrownTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kirchner, Ernst LudwigCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lien, ToroddTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Meijerink, GerdaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Suominen, OiliTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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When I was fifteen, I got hepatitis.
Being ill when you are a child or growing up is such an enchanted interlude!
When rescue came, it was almost an assault. The woman seized my arm and pulled me through the dark entryway into the courtyard.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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A parable of German guilt and atonement and a love story of stunning power.
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