Spring/Summer '09 Reading Group List
“This uncommonly affecting page-turner, set in postwar Germany, evokes equal depths of thought and feeling. Written in spare, keenly observed prose, it is a story of love, and of personal and historical responsibility, and the novel's wrenching moral questions still have me in their grip.”
— John Willson, Eagle Harbor Book Company, Bainbridge Island, WA
Hailed for its coiled eroticism and the moral claims it makes upon the reader, this mesmerizing novel is a story of love and secrets, horror and compassion, unfolding against the haunted landscape of postwar Germany.
When he falls ill on his way home from school, fifteen-year-old Michael Berg is rescued by Hanna, a woman twice his age. In time she becomes his lover—then she inexplicably disappears. When Michael next sees her, he is a young law student, and she is on trial for a hideous crime. As he watches her refuse to defend her innocence, Michael gradually realizes that Hanna may be guarding a secret she considers more shameful than murder.
About the Author
Bernhard Schlink was born in Germany in 1944. A professor of law at the University of Berlin and a practicing judge, he is also the author of several prize-winning crime novels. He lives in Bonn and Berlin.
"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