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Homecoming

3.18  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,544 Ratings  ·  208 Reviews
Growing up with his mother in Germany, Peter Debauer knows little about his father, an apparent victim of the Second World War. But when he stumbles upon a few pages from a long-lost novel, Peter embarks on a quest that leads him across Europe to the United States, chasing fragments of a story within a story and a master of disguises who may or may not exist. Homecoming is ...more
Kindle Edition, 274 pages
Published (first published January 1st 2006)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,867)
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Friederike Knabe
Oct 02, 2012 Friederike Knabe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: german-lit
"... because I wanted a new life, but did not know what it should be like." Most children growing up knowing little about an absent father will at some stage seek clues from the past in order to comprehend their own persona. The quest to fill gaps and to identify with their own behaviour may reveal unpleasant surprises. These can be especially disturbing for those growing up after a war during which their fathers may have condoned or even committed atrocities. In "Homecoming", Bernhard Schlink t ...more
Kristine Morris
Feb 04, 2012 Kristine Morris rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Bernhard Schlink should have written an essay or article on the theory of law, justice and the philosophy of good and evil and left it at that. Instead he tried carve a story about a boy’s search for an absent father into this lecture. I think there are some interesting concepts explored in the book, and it had the potential to be another “The Reader”- his first novel, but it needed to be revised (more than once) and a heavy hand of editing would have helped too.
I like books that have a mytholo
...more
Andrei Tamaş
Jul 29, 2015 Andrei Tamaş rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
O lectură ideală pentru a fi citită într-un cotlon pașnic al Elveției, spre exemplu. Viața de zi cu zi, fără evenimente "senzaționale", este transpusă într-un mod fluid, ceea ce face, cu toată simplitatea subiectului, o operă ușor de digerat. Ceea ce mi-a plcut cel mai mult a fost însă folosirea "tacticii" memoriei afective. De la legendarul roman proustian, nu am mai citit nimic -nicio operă- în care memoria afectivă să fie atât de bine conturată...
Miroslav Mateev
Jun 28, 2011 Miroslav Mateev rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
You know how there is books that make you stop all you are doing and just sit down and read. Well this one does the exact opposite - to make you want to do anything but read!
Will
Apr 23, 2011 Will rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The whole thing feels rather forced. It begins with an unlikely obsession (fragments of a long-lost novel that the narrator, Peter DeBauer just has to find out more about) becomes a search for his father who was supposed to have been killed in the war. But there are way too many far-fetched clues - people who remember conversations and incidents from over 40 years earlier, for example.
The characters themselves don't come alive. They're more like pieces in a chess game, and often seem to be ther
...more
Aryn
Dec 01, 2012 Aryn rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, fiction, historical
Feh. This was a BORING book. The author tried to draw parallels with The Odyssey, which just ended up reminding me how much I hated Odysseus - how much he was a womanizing, cocky, douchebag.

"[...] I was too much in love with the play of my ideas to impose a structure on them."
This book may have done better as a scholarly essay, the forced plot and love story was boring and pointless.
Brandon
Mar 19, 2014 Brandon rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
More like 2.5 stars. Really enjoyed Mr. Schlink's novel, The Reader, but this one fell a bit short. Probably would have embraced it more in my college years, but the novel lacked in engaging storytelling with its odd forays in philosophical discourse and a whining protagonist.
Mckenziewall
Aug 09, 2011 Mckenziewall rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The Homecoming? It should have been called The Meandering. Maybe I would have gotten more out of it had I read the Odyssey first. But alas...
Stephen Durrant
I am a big fan of Bernhard Schlink's "The Reader," even though it has now been Oprahfied. So I began "Homecoming" with high expectations. I was somewhat disappointed. "Homecoming," I believe, tries to do too much. It is a story of a lost father and the guilt and sense of mystery a young German feels as he tries to recuperate someone whose life was lived in the shadow of the Third Reich, but it is also organized around The Odyssey, attempting to play off that classic, and is, moreover, a meditati ...more
Grady
Jul 02, 2009 Grady rated it it was amazing
'We make our own truths and lies....Truths are often lies and lies truths...'

Bernhard Schlink stunned the reading public with his brilliant novel 1999 THE READER and once again with HOMECOMING he proves he is one of our most important authors today. Written in German and translated by Michael Henry Heim, HOMECOMING addresses, as did THE READER, the prolonged impact of the WW II fall of Germany on the lives of those who survived it. Not only is this a gripping story of a deserted son's search for
...more
Michael
Perhaps more daring in conception but less well realized in execution than The Reader, Schlink's Homecoming uses Homer's Odyssey (in the sense of its being of the class of nostoi) as a metaphor for "homecoming." As is so often the case, this is an example of demanding too much of a metaphor. The basic idea is sound and interesting, but Schlink has relied too much on references to the details of the Odyssey appearing in strange ways throughout the narrative, which has the dual effects of strainin ...more
Hannah  Messler
So the criticism that the lady who gave me The Reader had of it was concerning this part where the main character goes skiing toward the end of the book and he skis in a teeshirt. And she was like "That just seemed over-the-top and melodramatic and idiotic to me, like [affects silly German accent:] 'Oh I am so German and desensitized I will just ski in the freezing cold in a teeshirt because I have no feelings after all that has befallen me,'" which, yeah, is pretty dumb, I guess, if you read it ...more
Alexandra
Das Leben des Deutschen Peter Debauer ist in diesem Roman wie eine Odyssee angelegt. Die Hauptfigur surft auf dieser Irrfahrt völlig wirr und sinnlos durch sein Leben und das Jahrhundert, auf der Suche nach dem Ende eines Romans, auf dessen Manuskript er zufällig als Kind gestossen ist und hinter ständig wechslenden Personen her.

So spannend das Epos von Homer ist, so lähmend ist diese Geschichte, denn ganze 260 Seiten weiss der Leser nicht wofür die Hauptfigur dies alles tut, wohin diese Geschi
...more
Heffalumpi
May 02, 2011 Heffalumpi rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book showed much promise from the blurb on the back cover. I had read his other book The Reader before it was made into a film and really enjoyed it so naturally I did not hesitate to give this book a go. A fair go I did give it, 159 pages to be exact, and it went nowhere, well, nowhere I wanted to continue to go!

The premise of the book was good in that a man who had spent most of his childhood with his grandparents during the summer months realises that the have been writing manuscripts an
...more
Vishy
Nov 07, 2011 Vishy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I discovered ‘Homecoming’ by Bernhard Schlink a few years back during one of my random browsing sessions at the bookstore. Schlink was more famous for his book ‘The Reader’ which was made into a movie of the same name and which won Kate Winslet her first Oscar. ‘Homecoming’ appealed to me because of its bookish cover and the plot. I thought I will read it for German Literature Month. It was gripping from the first page to the last. I finished reading it today. Here is what I think.

What I think

‘H
...more
Amalie
Schlink's novel 'The Reader' was excellent so I was excited to read this however, I found 'Homecoming' to be disappointed. Don't get me wrong, Schlink is a great writer and first 2/3 of the book are very well written but the latter portions of the book I found to be flawed and dull indeed. Losing a star for that.

'Homecoming' involves a young German man's search for the father who disappeared before his birth and his father's involvement in the war.

My problem is Schlink's work seems to too high o
...more
Mara
The first two-thirds of this book were pretty good. We start with young Peter describing his childhood visits to his grandparents in Switzerland. His grandparents edit a series of light novels, one of which is the story of Carl, a German soldier, and his struggle to return home from the Russian front after WWII. Unfortunately, Peter has only the manuscript of the book, and the ending is missing. What happens when Carl returns home and finds his wife with another man and two small daughters? Does ...more
zespri
Feb 20, 2011 zespri rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took a while for me to figure out where Bernhard Schlink was going with this book. I loved The Reader, so thought I was in for another treat. Not so. I enjoyed the perspective of WW11 from a German insider, and the details of the fall of the Berlin Wall, there were some good quotes that I stopped and thought about but really the story did not grab me. I really did not enjoy the way the narrator kept finding meaning in pieces of an old novel he found and pieced together. It seemed too coincide ...more
Kokeshi
Aug 29, 2012 Kokeshi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: germany, favorites
I love Bernard Schlink's writing. His discussion of the human toll of war, even generations later, is like a balm for the open wound.

Schlink's The Reader was an amazing book and Homecoming is equally remarkable. As the title suggests homecoming is explored with the backdrop of Germany after WWII. This was a difficult time for Germany, but also for other nations whose troops were returning home after the devastation of war. This powerful novel comments on evil, justice, ethics, and morals before
...more
Jennifer  Sciolino-Moore
This book was an awful slog until the very end. It would have made an excellent short story, but instead the author chose to drone on. This was disjointed, and the author's conceit of using the father's writing was obnoxious and boring, and, frankly, out-of-place and superfluous.
Alumine Andrew
I've really enjoyed reading this new (for me) author and have just started a second book by him. The reason I picked this one up is because Schlink wrote "The Reader", the movie of which I thoroughly enjoyed.
In this novel, homecoming as a theme is explored through the main protagonist, Peter Debauer. He explores his childhood mystery regarding his absent father, a figure he only knows through brief details from his mother and a wonderful relationship he has with his paternal grandparents.
The Od
...more
Tony
Jun 17, 2009 Tony rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Schlink, Bernhard. HOMECOMING. (2006; US 2008). **. One of Elmore Leonard’s rules of good writing is to leave out those parts that readers tend to skip over. If that were the case with this novel, we would end up with over 250 pages of blank paper suitably bound for using as a journal or sketch pad. This is a journey to identity story that many writers seem to need to write. You don’t have to read them, though. Some of them grab you early on and won’t let you go. This one didn’t.
Ella
Feb 18, 2015 Ella rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Peter Debauer groeit op bij zijn moeder in Duitsland, zijn vader is omgekomen in de tweede wereldoorlog. In de vakanties gaat hij naar zijn grootouders in Zwitserland die hem vertellen over de jeugd van zijn vader. Dan vindt hij een verhaal waaraan het einde ontbreekt en ook de schrijver onbekend is. Het intrigeert hem zo dat hij op allerlei manieren probeert meer te weten te komen over dit verhaal en de schrijver. Zelf wordt hij uitgever en heeft daarom veel met schrijvers en boeken. Hij probee ...more
Gloria
Jan 27, 2016 Gloria rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I can't recommend this book to anyone who isn't willing to wade through many references to Homer's Odyssey, to engage in a contemplation of the many sides of evil, and to endure almost constant indecision on the part of the narrator. The story of Peter Debauer and his search for his father is pretty thin and full of side ramblings. Yes, it is about homecoming, I guess, if you think of it in terms of finding where you feel at home. It is hard to follow at times, and often I just wanted to shake t ...more
Monika
This may sound obvious, but Schlink is so German in his writing that it's almost funny. Everything is just so dissected and unemotional - even complex emotions. Even when you feel them, you know the characters are closed off to the emotions you are reading about. The story moves really slowly, and Schlink spends a LOT of time going through other stories. He is a thinking man's writer - his books aren't full of action. But all of that is worth it. All of that is sooooo worth the intensity and the ...more
David
Jan 14, 2016 David rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Bernhard Schlink, lawyer, judge, and law professor, has always included elements of jurisprudence and legal puzzles in his fiction---famously in the central problem of culpability in The Reader. So it's not surprising to see him delve into the "raven like a writing desk" question, "How is the law like The Odyssey?"

But just being an understandable authorial decision is not the same thing as a good decision.
Lisbeth
Jun 30, 2015 Lisbeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: other-fiction
Bernhard Schlink is probably most famous for his wonderful book The Reader, which was also made into a film. Homecoming has been on my TBR shelves for some years, and which is often the case, once I have read the book, I wonder why I left it there for so long.

As with The Reader, this book takes us back to events during World War II. Peter Debauer is born at the end of the war and grows up with his mother. His father died during the war. His youth summers are spent with his grand parents in Switz
...more
Stuart
Jun 14, 2008 Stuart rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Conrad, Krissa, Craige
Recommended to Stuart by: Krissa Cavouras
Bernard Schlink's characters feel unique in so many ways, adding to the visceral and at times biting reality of this book. Characters do not act with clear or indeed any motivation at times; there is logic, emotion, confusion and apathy in equal measure. I couldn't come across a new person without having an emotional response to them within a few pages.

The theme of homecoming is inventively explored, with twists and turns, literary parallels and heartbreaking discoveries. The backdrop is of post
...more
Gerund
As befitting its title, the opening chapter of Homecoming is luminously nostalgic: the narrator recalls the train journeys he used to take by himself from post-war Germany to visit his grandparents in bucolic Switzerland.

But the comforting image of friendly train conductors and boat rides on a lake is swiftly dispensed with in the next chapter, in which the narrator recounts a harrowing series of truck rides. His single mother hadn't the fare for the train, and so cast her child upon the kindnes
...more
Slyv
Apr 09, 2013 Slyv rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A homecoming within a homecoming within a homecoming. If you liked THE READER, this is even better. Involved, circuitous, and good reading. The underlying discussion among the search for his father and the search for the author involves whether good or evil prevails. If you learn only evil, do you become evil? Do you encounter only evil? Does an evil act for a good outcome justify itself by the outcome? How much of each person is evil, and how much good? Does that change with the situation? Cons ...more
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Bernhard Schlink is a German jurist and writer. He became a judge at the Constitutional Court of the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia in 1988 and has been a professor of public law and the philosophy of law at Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany since January 2006.

His career as a writer began with several detective novels with a main character named Selb--a play on the German word for "sel
...more
More about Bernhard Schlink...

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“I did not know that children think the hard questions they ask are easy and thus expect easy answers to them, and that they are disappointed when they get cautious, complex answers.” 6 likes
“The value of being brave, working hard, saving money keeping order depends on what it's for.” 5 likes
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