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The Reader
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About the Author

Bernhard Schlink was born in Germany. He is the author of the internationally best-selling novel The Reader, which was an Oprah's Book Club selection. He lives in Bonn and Berlin. "From the Trade Paperback edition."

Reviews

When Michael Berg began attending the Nazi war trials as part of a college class, he never expected to find Hanna-an older woman who had seduced him when he was a teenager-as one of the accused. Berg is himself paralyzed by a moral dilemma that may free her, but also destroy her. Schlink uses this intriguing and complex relationship to engage issues of identity, ego and freedom of choice that are emphasized within the backdrop of the Holocaust. Campbell Scott proves an excellent narrator, with an eloquent and precise tone that gives a reflective distance to this first-person account, emphasizing the Berg's evolution as he grows from youth into adult. Scott's deliberate delivery also emphasizes Berg's emerging maturity; initially, his deliberateness hints at insecurity while later on, Scott's steady reading indicates experience. A Vintage paperback. (Dec.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

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.

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

"Moving, suggestive and ultimately hopeful. . . . [The Reader] leaps national boundaries and speaks straight to the heart." --"The New York Times Book Review" "A formally beautiful, disturbing and finally morally devastating novel." --"Los Angeles Times" "Arresting, philosophically elegant, morally complex. . . . Mr. Schlink tells his story with marvelous directness and simplicity." --"The New York Times" "Haunting. . . . What Schlink does best, what makes this novel most memorable, are the small moments of highly charged eroticism." --Francine Prose, "Elle" "Moving, suggestive and ultimately hopeful. . . . [The Reader] leaps national boundaries and speaks straight to the heart." -"The New York Times Book Review" "A formally beautiful, disturbing and finally morally devastating novel." -"Los Angeles Times" "Arresting, philosophically elegant, morally complex. . . . Mr. Schlink tells his story with marvelous directness and simplicity." -"The New York Times" "Haunting. . . . What Schlink does best, what makes this novel most memorable, are the small moments of highly charged eroticism." -Francine Prose, "Elle" "A formally beautiful, disturbing and finally morally devastating novel." --Los Angeles Times "Moving, suggestive and ultimately hopeful. . . . [The Reader] leaps national boundaries and speaks straight to the heart." --The New York Times Book Review "Arresting, philosophically elegant, morally complex. . . . Mr. Schlink tells his story with marvelous directness and simplicity." --The New York Times "Haunting. . . . What Schlink does best, what makes this novel most memorable, are the small moments of highly charged eroticism." --Francine Prose, Elle

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