20 of 52 – The Reader

Trying my best to read more, I’ve finished The Reader by Bernhard Schlink. I’ve never seen the movie so I can’t compare it, but I’d definitely like to see the film after reading it!

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.

The book is a bit slow in parts, but I really liked it a lot. Michael is the first German generation after the Holocaust, and it’s a story based on the difficulty in generations afterward to both fully understand and fully demonise what happened in their country, what their own parents and grandparents did or let happen. It’s based all on this relationship, but the theme of guilt and shame is overwhelming within the book.

It’s a very accessible book, and there are many passages which have some really profound ideas within them.

I’m currently in the middle of a book I read when I was 15 and I’m not sure if I should count it. Because it’s been 6 years, I probably will be cheeky and count it 🙂

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