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The Reader by Bernhard Schlink

The Reader (original 1995; edition 1997)

by Bernhard Schlink

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
11,268349360 (3.7)412
Title:The Reader
Authors:Bernhard Schlink
Info:Pantheon Books (1997), Hardcover, 218 pages
Collections:Your library, Books

Work details

The Reader by Bernhard Schlink (1995)

  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 412 mentions

English (304)  Dutch (9)  Spanish (9)  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 (346)
Showing 1-5 of 304 (next | show all)
This was an amazing novel. From beginning to end, I was completely spell-bound by the story and the lens that Schlink weaves--to explore the world, his characters, and himself. It is a fine achievement and I think this is one of the best pieces of German literature that I have read in some time. The characters were instantly remarkable and each set scene had burdened tension, rife istability, and altering character arcs.

Tremendous novel. Two thumbs up: recommended! ( )
  DanielSTJ | Apr 8, 2019 |
I really can't believe I read this book in one day. What an amazing story and an amazing writer. I loved it from beginning to end. It's a story about a young boy having a relationship with a much older woman. Later on when he sees her again, she is on trial in court. The ending suprised me and I did not see it coming. Excellent story and a must read. ( )
  booklover3258 | Apr 3, 2019 |
Extremely compelling basis for a novel - I only wish that it had been written by a more skilled author, who could have made this a masterpiece. As it is, it was a little clumsy, getting worse towards the end.

Schlink is a "tell don't show" writer - which would have worked well with a lovelier writing style. Instead it's very plain and declarative - perhaps as an effect of the original German (or the translation). Think of the difference between Marquez and Coetzee: one writes subtly of plain things, the other writes plainly of subtle things. Schlink writes plainly of things which should have been subtler.

What ambiguity remains is actually more frustrating than enticing. Like the fact that the narrator never clarifies the date of the first sequence, or that he never confirms whether he told the judge the truth or not. Both have clear answers which one can infer (1958; no he didn't) and on which the plot depends. It doesn't aid the novel in any way for those questions to be kept open, so it just feels like a case of clumsy exposition.

With all that said - it was a short page-turner with a fundamentally fascinating premise. I only wish it could have been more. ( )
  sometimeunderwater | Mar 19, 2019 |
Aside form the film adaptation, I only recall this one because for a while it was the worst book I had ever completed. I am unsure whether it still mantains that distinction ( )
  jonfaith | Feb 22, 2019 |
  claws2018 | Nov 19, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 304 (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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Wikipedia in English (3)

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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