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Homecoming by Bernhard Schlink
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Homecoming (2006)

by Bernhard Schlink

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5511718,146 (3.15)6

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English (12)  Finnish (1)  German (1)  French (1)  Dutch (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (17)
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
I got the sense that this novel had many levels and lots of symbolism, and was very intelligent, but I didn't really understand it. As a result it read quite boringly. ( )
  MaidMeri | Mar 28, 2016 |
Homecoming, more so the long journey home, the theme of the Odyssey, weaves through the entire text in multiple strands: The Odyssey through Debauer’s, the protagonist’s life from his birth in the last months of the II. World War in Germany’s eastern region, his growing up as the only child of his demanding mother, his summers in Switzerland, quiet and happy, staying with his grandparents the parents of his father he never knew, his search for traces of this dead father, interwoven with the 12-year history of the 3rd Reich, its promise of a place for all pure-blooded Germans to forge a common glorious future for 1000 years to come, its promise of ending any tiring routine and ‘existential Müdigkeit’, the culmination in the intellectual duel between Debauer and De Baur over the question of totalitarian thinking, good and evil, the responsibilities towards those close to you and those who suffer, the responsibility regarding ones thoughts and opinions.
I have to praise the book reluctantly almost against my will. Like a thriller – Sch. wrote several, none of which I read - I was unable to put it down; ‘against my will’: looking back I found it just too constructed for my unreserved praise. (III-16) ( )
  MeisterPfriem | Mar 27, 2016 |
That this novel looks at the sociological phenomenon of homesickness and homecoming is fairly clear from the title, less obvious is that it also looks at some aspects of political theory, particularly towards the end. The first was generally well done even if at times it veered too far away from novel towards text book. The second part, roughly the last third of the book, then took a sharp downward turn with the novel aspects (characterisation, plot) being not only weaker in themselves but also not really resolving the earlier part. The tendancy towards didacticism is also much more marked.
I generally like Schlink's novels but for me, this is one of his least successful. 10 December 2015. ( )
  alanca | Dec 10, 2015 |
this is a deeply philosophical work of fiction. i had a hard time getting through some passages, and sometimes had a hard time liking the protagonist. however, if philosophy is your cup of tea & you're looking for something similar in fiction, this would be a good pick. ( )
1 vote cat-ballou | Apr 2, 2013 |
Here’s the blurb from the publisher:

A child of World War II, Peter Debauer grew up with his mother and scant memories of his father, a victim of war. Now an adult, Peter embarks upon a search for the truth surrounding his mother’s unwavering—but shaky—history and the possibility of finding his missing father after all these years. The search takes him across Europe, to the United States, and back: finding witnesses, falling in and out of love, chasing fragments of a story and a person who may or may not exist. Within a maze of reinvented identities, Peter pieces together a portrait of a man who uses words as one might use a change of clothing, as he assumes a new guise in any given situation simply to stay alive.The chase leads Peter to New York City, where he hopes to find the real person behind the disguises.

The Short of It:

I liked it, but I didn’t like it and if this brief statement makes absolutely no sense to you, then read on.

The Rest of It:

Homecoming is one of those novels that is a story, within a story. I usually love these types of books. A book about a book? I’m there. BUT, this one promised to be an adventure and for me, it sort of petered out halfway through. As Peter heads out on his quest to find the truth, the story starts to get a bit muddy and then I started to skim, and then I was completely lost. By the end, I thought I had a pretty good grasp of what happened, but after thinking about it for a day or two, I realize that I really have no clue.

To his credit, Schlink’s characters are lovely. I liked them very much and felt as if I really got to know them. If it weren’t for the strong characters I probably would have given up on the book because it just didn’t grab me as much as I expected it to. The ending was very strange too. Almost surreal at one point. It didn’t seem to fit the rest of the story.

Homecoming is my book club’s pick for this month so I’m hoping that the discussion on Thursday will shed some light on what exactly happened there at the end. Have any of you read it? If so, what did you think of it? ( )
  tibobi | Jul 7, 2010 |
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In mijn jeugd was ik elke vakantie bij mijn grootouders in Zwitserland.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375420916, Hardcover)

The first novel by Bernhard Schlink since his international best seller The Reader, Homecoming is the story of one man's odyssey and another man's pursuit.

A child of World War II, Peter Debauer grew up with his mother and scant memories of his father, a victim of war. Now an adult, Peter embarks upon a search for the truth surrounding his mother's unwavering--but shaky--history and the possibility of finding his missing father after all these years. The search takes him across Europe, to the United States, and back: finding witnesses, falling in and out of love, chasing fragments of a story and a person who may or may not exist. Within a maze of reinvented identities, Peter pieces together a portrait of a man who uses words as one might use a change of clothing, as he assumes a new guise in any given situation simply to stay alive.

The chase leads Peter to New York City, where he hopes to find the real person behind the disguises. Operating under an assumed identity of his own, Peter unravels the secrets surrounding Columbia University's celebrated political science professor and best-selling author John de Baur, who is known for his incendiary philosophy and the charismatic rapport he has with his students. Terrifying mind games challenge Peter's ability to bring to light the truth surrounding his family history while still holding on to the love of a woman who promises a new life, free of lies and deceit.

Homecoming is a story of fathers and sons, men and women, war and peace. It reveals the humanity that survives the trauma of war and the ongoing possibility for redemption.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:27 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

A child of World War II, Peter Debauer grew up with his mother and scant memories of his father, a victim of war. Now an adult, Peter embarks upon a search for the truth surrounding his mother's unwavering--but shaky--history and the possibility of finding his missing father after all these years.… (more)

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