Bernhard Schlink – The Reader

107. The Reader by Bernhard Schlink (1995)
Length: 218 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Started: 6 November 2014
Finished: 10 November 2014
Where did it come from? From a Library Book Sale
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 20 July 2012
Why do I have it?
I like historical fiction and Bernhard Schlink is a new author for me.

Walking home from school one day, fifteen-year-old Michael Berg becomes seriously ill. He is rescued by Hanna Schmitz, a woman twice his age. Hanna, a bus conductor, tends to Michael and then takes him back to his home. Over time, Michael and Hanna form a relationship, and she becomes his lover – then she inexplicably disappears from Michael’s life.

When Michael next sees Hanna, he is a young law student, sitting in on a trial in which Hanna is a defendant. She is accused of a hideous crime, but inexplicably refuses to defend herself. As he watches her refuse to defend her innocence, Michael is at first perplexed by her actions. However, as the trial continues, he gradually realizes that Hanna may be guarding a secret which she considers more shameful than murder.

I absolutely loved this book. I was drawn into the plot very quickly; and by about two pages in, I was completely engrossed in the story. This was a translation from the original German, but it was a very well-written, understandable, and easy read for me. In my opinion, the story flowed along easily and I avidly wanted to know what happened next.  

This was an unusual book to begin with – and while I haven’t seen the 2008 movie adaption starring Kate Winslett and Ralph Fiennes – I enjoyed the book very much. I give this book an A+!

A+! – (96-100%) 
Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight


One thought on “Bernhard Schlink – The Reader

  1. I read this novel back in 2011. I have mixed emotions about this novel. Yes, I read this novel rather quickly and felt that is was well written and engaging overall, but I didn't end up liking it at all very much.

    I didn't like that Hanna took advantage of a 15 year old boy the way she did. I still can't figure out why she was so prideful that she couldn't admit she was illiterate and save herself some grief instead facing jail time… Plus, I didn't like the ending of this novel at all.

    The Reader does deal with some heavy topics… I think it does make for a good book group novel as I would have enjoyed discussing with other readers at the time.

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