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The Reader (1995)

by Bernhard Schlink

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
12,106374385 (3.7)454
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)
Recently added bydowswell, ajslonosky, elaineandrus, rachelbd43, Levendy, private library, obz_5, ejmw, ashleysb
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
    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 454 mentions

English (327)  Spanish (13)  Dutch (9)  German (5)  French (4)  Finnish (3)  Swedish (3)  Catalan (2)  Norwegian (1)  Danish (1)  Italian (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Korean (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (372)
Showing 1-5 of 327 (next | show all)
This is an arresting meditation on morality, dignity, and acceptance. Set in Germany, the narrative follows an unlikely relationship that straddles WWII, and confronts every elephant the room has to offer: a teenager's sexual awakening, the right and ownership of dignity, a generation on trail, absolution in a tea tin. Somehow, in clear voice and unflinching realism, Schlink presents all these things and more. This story is beautiful and rich and sad and relevant, especially as the memories and factors it addresses fade to cliché. ( )
  dowswell | Jul 25, 2021 |
Beautiful writing and introspective story. Page-turner. The book lingers in your thoughts long after you have read it. Did Hannah choose to die because she is disappointed with Michael? Because she didn't feel his sincerity? Michael thought he had done all he could. But he'll forever wonder if he could have done more. Besides the main storyline, I also like the sub-plot of the relationship between Michael and his father. I read this in May and I can still remember how Michael describes his father - clueless in parenting and yet he turns to him when he needs advice. ( )
  siok | Jul 17, 2021 |
I really enjoyed this book - it was so touching and though it pushed the boundaries I found it appropriate and memorable.
  TenkaraSmart | Jun 8, 2021 |
Very enjoyable but at the same time, very sad. A tragic love story with a hard-hitting(if not entirely unexpected) ending. Her memories of the concentration camps and her part in it are very intense and the fact that she goes from not really accepting that she'd done anything wrong to her suicide at the end was very well written.

Sad, poignant, tragic and beautiful, all rolled into one great novel. ( )
1 vote SFGale | Mar 23, 2021 |
After reading several glowing reviews I came away disappointed. I never really engaged with the story or its characters. For such a short story I expected something really powerful but there was too much analysis and I often felt bogged down. On the plus side it is an original look at the Holocaust from a different point of view and Hana is an interesting character. As she asks the judge during her trial 'What would you have done?' ( )
  Patsmith139 | Mar 15, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 327 (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.
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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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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.

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A parable of German guilt and atonement and a love story of stunning power.
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