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The Reader
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New or Used: 3 copies from $7.47
'A thriller, a love story and a deeply moving examination of a German conscience' [Independent on Saturday] 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.
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Promotional Information

Published to tie-in with the Hollywood blockbuster THE READER starring Ralph Fiennes and Kate Winslet THE READER has become a literary sensation and international bestseller Published to critical acclaim across the world, it has been translated into 39 languages It has sold over 300,000 copies in Phoenix Paperback alone It reprints regularly - 30 times to date An Oprah Book Club selection Schlink has received exceptional reviews for his masterpiece: 'For generations to come, people will be reading and marvelling over Bernhard Schlink's THE READER' Evening Standard 'A sensitive, daring, deeply moving book about the tragic results of fear and the redemptive power of understanding' Ruth Rendell 'A formally beautiful, disturbing and finally morally devastating novel' LA Times 'Moving, suggestive and ultimately hopeful... Leaps national boundaries and speaks straight to the heart' New York Times Book Review 'Examines the nature of understanding and tests the limits of forgiveness... The result is as compelling as any thriller' The Times 'Readers of the book - thousands, one hopes - will understand the nature of atonement when they have finished reading it' Daily Telegraph

About the Author

Bernhard Schlink was born in Germany in 1944. He is a professor of law at the University of Berlin and a practising judge. He lives in Bonn and Berlin.

Reviews

YA‘Michael Berg, 15, is on his way home from high school in post-World War II Germany when he becomes ill and is befriended by a woman who takes him home. When he recovers from hepatitis many weeks later, he dutifully takes the 40-year-old Hanna flowers in appreciation, and the two become lovers. The relationship, at first purely physical, deepens when Hanna takes an interest in the young man's education, insisting that he study hard and attend classes. Soon, meetings take on a more meaningful routine in which after lovemaking Michael reads aloud from the German classics. There are hints of Hanna's darker side: one inexplicable moment of violence over a minor misunderstanding, and the fact that the boy knows nothing of her life other than that she collects tickets on the streetcar. Content with their arrangement, Michael is only too willing to overlook Hanna's secrets. She leaves the city abruptly and mysteriously, and he does not see her again until, as a law student, he sits in on her case when she is being tried as a Nazi criminal. Only then does it become clear that Hanna is illiterate and her inability to read and her false pride have contributed to her crime and will affect her sentencing. The theme of good versus evil and the question of moral responsibility are eloquently presented in this spare coming-of-age story that's sure to inspire questions and passionate discussion.‘Jackie Gropman, Kings Park Library, Burke, VA

A tender, horrifying novel that shows blazingly well how the Holocaust should be dealt with in fiction * MATURE TIMES * This mesmerising novel is a story of love and secrets, horror and compassion, unfolding against the haunted landscape of post-war Germany * WESTERN MORNING NEWS * A hauntingly beautiful read * SUFFOLK FREE PRESS * a profound and deeply moving examination of what drives perfectly ordinary people to do the most appalling things...hard to put down * YORK PRESS * A powerful book, it lingers in the mind * OXFORD TIMES * The Reader cannot be ignored. It challenges core definitions of good and evil...The Reader brings us face to face with how little we know about the people around us -- Norman Lebrecht * EVENING STANDARD * Schlink's novel has a wondeful clarity of style that serves to emphasise the moral complexity of its subject matter * DAILY TELEGRAPH * [Schlink] explores the conflict between generations, wrestling with collective guilt and individual motivation. He examines the nature if understanding and tests the limits of forgiveness. He does these things with honesty, restraint and a moral precision both unsettling and rare. The result is as compelling as any thriller * The Times * Haunting and unforgettable * Literary Review * For generations to come, people will be reading and marvelling over Bernhard Schlink's The Reader * Evening Standard * The Reader by Bernhard Schlink is the German novel I have been waiting for: it objectifies the Holocaust and legitimately makes all mankind responsible -- Sir Peter Hall * Observer * Leaps national boundaries and speaks straight to the heart . . . a moving, suggestive and ultimately hopeful work * New York Times * Schlink's extraordinary novel The Reader is a compelling meditation on the connections between Germany's past and its present, dramatised with extreme emotional intelligence as the story of a relationship between the narrator and an older woman. It has won deserved praise across Europe for the tact and power with which it handles its material, both erotic and philosophical * Independent * Deeply moving, sensitive enough to make me wince, a Holocaust novel, but light years away from the common run -- Ruth Rendell * Sunday Telegraph *

After falling ill on the street in the German town where he lives, 15-year-old Michael is helped by a woman named Hanna. When he returns to her apartment to thank her several months later, he begins a passionate love affair with her. In time, she demands that he read aloud to her before they make love, and they essay some of Germany's and the world's great literature together. One day, however, Hanna disappears without saying farewell, and Michael grieves and believes it to be his fault. He finds her again years later when, as a law student, he encounters her as the defendant in a court case. To reveal more of the plot would be unfair, but this very readable novel by German author Schlink probes the nature of love, guilt, and responsibility while painting a sympathetic portrait of Michael and an achingly complex picture of Hanna. Recommended for most collections.‘Michael T. O'Pecko, Towson State Univ., Md.

Another in the spate of soul-searching post-Holocaust German novels that have made their way here, this elegant if derivative triptych chronicles the relationship of narrator Michael Berg, a young bourgeois man who becomes a legal historian, with working-class Hanna Schmitz, 20 years his senior and (as it turns out) a former SS officer. They meet in the 1950s, when he is 15: she rescues him when he falls ill in the street from the effects of hepatitis. His thank-you visit results in months of trysts; the lovers develop a routine that involves Michael reading aloud from the German classics. Part Two opens at Hanna's trial 10 years later for war crimes: assigned by chance to observe the trial, Michael continues his strange role as her reader, sending her tapes in prison until, in Part Three, the two finally, and tragically, meet again. Some readers may object to Schlink's insistently withheld moral judgments: he never treats Hanna as just a villain. Yet this well-translated novel indisputably offers a philosophical look at the "numbness" that settled over German culture during the war and that (Schlink seems to say) infects it to this day. (July)

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