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The Reader by Bernhard Schlink

The Reader (original 1995; edition 1999)

by Bernhard Schlink

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10,440329274 (3.69)364
Title:The Reader
Authors:Bernhard Schlink
Info:Pantheon (1999), Hardcover, 218 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

The Reader by Bernhard Schlink (1995)

Recently added byrainrainme, romanlibrary, Adilinaria, private library, WHOStaffLibrary, weird_O, Normaluna
Legacy LibrariesJuice Leskinen
  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
    Without Blood by Alessandro Baricco (2810michael)
  4. 10
    Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum (bnbookgirl)
    bnbookgirl: One of my top ten fav's.
  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
    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
  9. 11
    Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton (1Owlette)
  10. 00
    Before I Knew Him by Anna Ralph (1Owlette)
  11. 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
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 01
    Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel (Cecilturtle)

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» See also 364 mentions

English (286)  Spanish (10)  Dutch (8)  German (6)  French (3)  Finnish (3)  Catalan (2)  Italian (2)  Swedish (2)  Norwegian (1)  Danish (1)  Korean (1)  All (1)  Hebrew (1)  All (327)
Showing 1-5 of 286 (next | show all)
I didn't expect to like this book, let alone find it extremely compelling and at times, beautiful. Its simplicity is deceptive and I have a feeling I will be thinking about it for some time. I wish I had more time to write; I guess my quickest summary would have to be Lolita meets the Holocaust. ( )
  aurelas | Dec 23, 2016 |
The novel is easy to read, chapters are short and the plot is intriguing. I enjoyed reading it and the main character of Michael Berg is well portrayed. I also found the character of Hanna as lacking in characterisation somewhat, because she is kept in the background, rather than being on the foreground with Michael. This, as such, diminishes the impact of her big 'secret' when revealed to readers.

This is a good book to read nonetheless, but I don't dwell on it because of the peculiar way the author emphasised one character at the expense of another, when the other is actually the focal point of the plot. The first person narrative is all very well, but I found it difficult to have empathy with Michael Berg, when the character just seems to be selfish and centrered on his obsession, rather than acting on improving things for Hanna.

The light tone of the narrative and the major 'issue' with Hanna which is discovered are contrasted and too far apart to be logical, this is why I don't give more than 3.5 points in my rating. Maybe I'll enjoy it more in a few years' time, in which case this review will be revised then. ( )
  soniaandree | Aug 17, 2016 |
This is not a book I would have read on my own.It came highly recommended by a friend. It is a very fast read,which surprised me.It is a very haunting story.I am still thinking of this book long after I finsihed it. I would recommend it to everyone.
If you normally don't read abt nazi Germany, I would still try this book! I enjoyed the story and the style of writing. ( )
1 vote LauGal | Aug 16, 2016 |
review pending ( )
  leslie.98 | Jun 20, 2016 |

“There's no need to talk about it, because the truth of what one says lies in what one does.”

Another excellent book from Oprah's Book Club!

What stands out the most about this book is the beautifully poetic, somewhat haunting, clearly passionately felt writing style. The writer uses short chapters and the tone never alters, following the reader through the pages, heavy on reminiscing about the past, memories, and sometimes veering off into an almost dreamy viewpoint as the scenes take place. A writing style such as this serves such a tragic sort of story perfectly.

‘The Reader’ begins immediately on the cliff of falling into the relationship that is the main purpose of the book. At first glance it would seem like it would only be a minor fling, a sexual awakening for the fifteen year old protagonist. This is further hinted out by the moodiness and secrecy from the woman he falls in love with – but surprisingly his love lives on long after the relationship dies, injecting a strange, demented sort of romanticism to the novel. Even at the end, when the last pages were closed by a teary, final scene, the relationship will always be clearly important for the protagonist. It helped develop his life when he was on the brink of becoming a man, shadowing all future relationships and ambitions. Even if it is over, the foundation is cemented.

This isn’t a simple romantic wonder, though, as the layers show how wrong it all is, was, and can’t have any choice but to be. The trial was one of the best parts of the novel, revealing a secret I had already guessed on while dishing out atrocities I shuddered to learn.

What made this book even more different was the connection after the trial. It shows that, despite his learning of these secrets – whether they are awful or not – that the magic conjured when they met still continued working within his psyche.

Of course a book called ‘The Reader’ would have something to do with books. On the surface the book takes a love of reading and makes it grand, but later shows the point isn't some hypothetical, magical enjoyment of books, but is instead showing how easier it is to get buried by ignorance. Enjoyment of books gets tossed out the windows as irrelevant in light of consequences, to in the end come forth as an enjoyable delight all over again.

There was this unusual view the protagonist felt about certain sorts of novels, which I don’t necessarily agree with. Some of the experimental literature has made the most shocking, but positive, impact on a generation.

“To me it was obvious that experimental literature was experimenting with the reader, and Hanna didn’t need that and neither did I.”

Overall ‘The Reader’ shows how powerful a story can be, how it can touch the heart no matter how cold or dead the heart may seem to others, how it can revitalize, loan life in the absence of it. There was a strange love, an almost uncomfortable and somewhat lunatic connection, that illustrates how powerful human connection can become and how it can overshadow development. Even with strong emotions, even if the relationship was not pure nor good, we read and feel as the protagonist keeps casting quick glances in the past while he forges his steps into the future.
( )
  ErinPaperbackstash | Jun 14, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 286 (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
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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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Book description
A parable of German guilt and atonement and a love story of stunning power.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0375707972, Paperback)

Oprah Book Club® Selection, February 1999: Originally published in Switzerland, and gracefully translated into English by Carol Brown Janeway, The Reader is a brief tale about sex, love, reading, and shame in postwar Germany. Michael Berg is 15 when he begins a long, obsessive affair with Hanna, an enigmatic older woman. He never learns very much about her, and when she disappears one day, he expects never to see her again. But, to his horror, he does. Hanna is a defendant in a trial related to Germany's Nazi past, and it soon becomes clear that she is guilty of an unspeakable crime. As Michael follows the trial, he struggles with an overwhelming question: What should his generation do with its knowledge of the Holocaust? "We should not believe we can comprehend the incomprehensible, we may not compare the incomparable.... Should we only fall silent in revulsion, shame, and guilt? To what purpose?"

The Reader, which won the Boston Book Review's Fisk Fiction Prize, wrestles with many more demons in its few, remarkably lucid pages. What does it mean to love those people--parents, grandparents, even lovers--who committed the worst atrocities the world has ever known? And is any atonement possible through literature? Schlink's prose is clean and pared down, stripped of unnecessary imagery, dialogue, and excess in any form. What remains is an austerely beautiful narrative of the attempt to breach the gap between Germany's pre- and postwar generations, between the guilty and the innocent, and between words and silence. --R. Ellis

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:10 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Schoolboy Michael Berg, 15, meets an older woman and they have an affair, which she breaks off and disappears. Seven years later Berg, now a law student attending a trial, sees her in the dock, accused in a crime dating back to World War II and the death camp at Auschwitz.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 14 descriptions

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