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The Reader by Bernhard Schlink

The Reader (original 1995; edition 1998)

by Bernhard Schlink, Carol Brown Janeway (Translator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
11,099346354 (3.7)401
Title:The Reader
Authors:Bernhard Schlink
Other authors:Carol Brown Janeway (Translator)
Info:Vintage Books (1998), Edition: 1st, Paperback, 218 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

The Reader by Bernhard Schlink (1995)

Recently added byAugustusYoungHaines, aliciashopewhite, pbearstina, rena75, mumfie, richard_dury, LPmyers, private library
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 401 mentions

English (302)  Spanish (10)  Dutch (8)  German (6)  Swedish (3)  Finnish (3)  French (3)  Catalan (2)  Italian (2)  Norwegian (1)  Danish (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Korean (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (344)
Showing 1-5 of 302 (next | show all)
  claws2018 | Nov 19, 2018 |
What a captivating read!
The story held me in several ways. In the first part I was wondering how the boy pulled it off, having a relation (with someone so much older than him). How long it would last. And the first part got me annoyed because it looked a lot like a romance book.

The second part made me curious how the trial would end. Which choices would be made and would Michael contact Hanna?

For some reason I expected the ending of the book. Not sure why, because there were no hints or reasons to do so.
It was a bit disappointing to me, but that tells more about how engaged I got with the character of Michael and a little less with Hanna, than about the book itself.

Liked it, it is the first (as far as I can remember) book I read that addresses the judging of nazi's in the after war period by the German judicial system. ( )
  BoekenTrol71 | Nov 4, 2018 |
This is one of those rare books where I'm tempted to say that the movie is almost better. But, whatever the case, this short novel is beautiful. Out of all the books I've read and all the movies I've seen, I don't think I've ever been as emotionally involved with the characters as I was with Hanna and Michael.

Part of the value I find in this story is Schlink's subtle message about the nature of literature. The story of Hanna and Michael, in an isolated form, is undoubtedly a tragedy. But, when taken in the context of a full story, it is ultimately comedic. Through this tragic story, truth is revealed that our stories, our lives, have value outside of themselves as literature.

"Whatever I had done or not done, whatever she had done or not to me - it was the path my life had taken...
"Soon after her death, I decided to write the story of me and Hanna. Since then I've done it many times in my head, each time a little differently... The guarantee that the written one is the right one lies in the fact that I wrote it and not the other versions. The written version wanted to be written, the many others did not.
"...our story was slipping away from me and I wanted to recapture it by writing, but that didn't coax up the memories either. For the last few years I've left our story alone. I've made peace with it. And it came back, detail by detail and in such a fully rounded fashion, with its own direction and its own sense of completion, that it no longer makes me sad. What a sad story, I thought for so long. But I think it is true, and thus the question of whether it is sad or happy has no meaning whatever.
"...The tectonic layers of our lives rest so tightly one on top of the other that we always come up against earlier events in later ones, not as matter that has been fully formed and pushed aside, but absolutely present and alive. I understand this. Nevertheless, sometimes I find it hard to bear. Maybe I did write our story to be free of it, even if I never can be." ( )
  bookishblond | Oct 24, 2018 |
This for me is one of those instances that I had seen the movie first, which I am sure lessened the impact of the book as I loved the movie.
It probably deserves a higher score. ( )
  HelenBaker | Sep 30, 2018 |
Excellent writing style and a great plot with the holocaust as the backdrop. The story seamlessly flows through with the narrator's voice taking us through the events. Highly recommended. ( )
  ashkrishwrites | Aug 29, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 302 (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 17 descriptions

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