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The Weekend: A Novel
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The Weekend: A Novel

3.09 of 5 stars 3.09  ·  rating details  ·  953 ratings  ·  154 reviews
Old friends and lovers reunite for a weekend in a secluded country home after spending decades apart.

They excavate old memories and pass clandestine judgments on the wildly divergent paths they’ve taken since their youth. But this isn’t just any reunion, and their conversations about the old days aren’t your typical reminiscences: After twenty-four years, Jörg, a convicted
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Hardcover, 216 pages
Published October 12th 2010 by Pantheon (first published January 1st 2008)
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22nd out of 41 books — 30 voters
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Community Reviews

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Owlseyes
This is a (fiction) book* about a dark period of Germany's History: 1970-1998; some speak about a "German Autumn". Basically, it refers to the acts of a terrorist organization called Red Army Fraction (RAF=Rote Armee Fraktion),which conducted acts of terrorism against a State deemed to be "fascist"; several of its members went to jail...some got pardoned, many women got involved. In 1998 the organization was dismantled.






Before reading the book I watched an interview given by Schlink. He ponde
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Friederike Knabe
A group of, for the most part, long time friends meet at a secluded, dilapidated country villa in the countryside around Berlin. They have come together to welcome back into society one of their own. Jörg, was just released that day from prison on a special pardon, having spent twenty four years in detention for several murders, committed as a member of the infamous Baader-Meinhof Gang (RAF - Red Army Faction), notorious in the nineteen seventies. The novel follows the visitors over the course o ...more
THE
Bernhard Schlink is an author of substance, style, and ideas; it is unfortunate that this work seems only to be a pastiche of his earlier fiction. Neither characters nor plot enhance his distinctive themes of guilt, responsibility, memory, and reconciliation. Vaguely reminiscent (initially) of the film THE BIG CHILL, in this depiction, the group of middle-aged friends are not rendezvousing to mourn an old friend, but have gathered in a rural farmhouse in Germany to welcome home Jorg, a just-rele ...more
Deea
This is unfortunately an average book, not even by far half as good as the others I read by Schlink. Some friends meet somewhere in the countryside to welcome back to freedom a terrorist who has been pardoned after 30 years of imprisonment. They all had been part of the same group of friends before he, the terrorist, Jorg, started his part in the cause he fought for (he had been a part of RAF- The German Red Army Faction). At present, they all have trouble accepting his murders and feel awkward ...more
Laura Droege
A convicted terrorist has been pardoned. His overprotective sister Christiane invites old friends to spend a weekend with the newly-released Jörg at her country house. As the weekend progresses, we read the thoughts of the friends about each other. Most of them parted company three decades before.

Not much happens in the book. If you're looking for a thriller, look somewhere else. Yes, the friends have dinner table conversations, arguments about whether Jörg should let Marko release a "declaratio
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Esther
Der RAF Terrorist Jörg wird nach vielen Jahren Haft begnadigt. Seine Schwester Christiane, die seit seiner Kindheit für ihn gesorgt hat, holt ihn ab. Um ihm den Einstieg in die Gesellschaft zu erleichtern – oder das Auftreffen auf die wirkliche Gesellschaft noch ein paar Tage zu verzögern – organisiert sie ein Wochenende in einem abgelegenen Landhaus. Eingeladen sind die alten Freunde, die sich damals zwar wohl als Revolutionäre gesehen haben, sich vor dem bewaffneten Kampf aber gescheut haben. ...more
Laurel
For such a short book there is really a lot to absorb here. A bunch of middle-aged friends gather in a dilapidated German country house for a weekend to "celebrate" their terrorist friend's pardon from prison. Felt like I was missing something by not knowing about the failed German terrorist revolution of the 1970s, but aside from that most of the themes were universal. In an amazingly short space Schlink's characters do a lot of soul-searching, mostly comparing what they had dreamed their lives ...more
Estelle
I chose to read this having enormously enjoyed The Reader and it did not disappoint. The action is limited being set in a country house over just one weekend. Yet Schlink holds interest with his depiction of his characters uncertainties through extensive use of dialogue. Each character is distinct and comes with their own histories and complexities. The central theme of life after terrorism is interesting and I particularly enjoyed Ilse's story which punctuated the main story at intervals. Perha ...more
Bookmarks Magazine
Schlink's latest foray into fiction is far more concerned with ideas than with plot development and characterization. Some critics were able to overlook this unusual format -- a continuous succession of conversations -- in favor of his astute exploration of the character and collective struggle of a country still mired in the horrors of its past. Schlink skillfully mines the tension between the passionate idealism of youth and the nagging uncertainties of middle age in "a cross between The Big C ...more
Book Bazaar
Reader review from Heather - I've just finished Bernhard Schlink's 'The Weekend".
It's better than The Reader. It took me 1 afternoon and 1 morning. Couldn't put it down, a definite page-turner. 9/10 or 10/10.

It's about terrorism in Germany - Bader Meinhof gang and the Red Army Faction. . Can't believe he got so much into 221 pages. Sorted out a lot of things for me in terms of German history, from 1410 to today, and including America nd the Arabs. I liked the story within the story and the philo
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Mana
Some bizarre navel-gazing passages towards the end along with a lot of discussion on 'life lies'. It lost me sometimes. Overall a decent read. Explores far left terrorism in Germany and was quite enlightening in some aspects. Would I read it again? Probably not. For a short novel it seemed quite long for some reason.
Peter
From the author of The Reader which I liked much more, The Weekend also takes up part of Germany's past, in this case the domestic terrorism of the 1970s. I don't know if the problem is in the translation, but in parts of the book it's hard to figure who's doing the talking.

Shifting the perspective from one person to another in the same scene is frowned upon by writing teachers. Schlink is certainly taking chances in using that technique and while I can understand why he tries it, I found the r
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Karima
Great premise but didn't quite work. This is a translation from the German and that may have been the problem for me. I am only vaguely aware of the politics of which this group of people are/were involved. I think those native to Germany have more of an understanding of what's going on here. I didn't.

From Publishers Weekly
Old friends cautiously reunite at an isolated German estate after one of them is released from prison in Schlink's (The Reader) meditative novel on the past's grip on the pre
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Jim Dellit
My friend Angela gave this to us and I really enjoyed the reading of it: there is something about books chosen by others. This contemporary weekend gathering of aged and former 'terrorists', (Baader-Meinhof members, symapthisers and survivors of 1970s dissent) questions the use of violence, the reliability of memory and the nature of friendship and, in a complex way, it explores personal redemption through 'truth' telling. The translation seems appropriate to the themes and is easy to read. Blis ...more
Kristijan
Vikend mi odavno stoji na listi za čitanje. Razlog tome je naravno Šlinkov Čitač koji me je prosto oduševio i samim tim sam hteo da vidim da li je Čitač izolovani slučaj ili gospodin Šlink uistinu ume da piše dobro. Na moju veliku radost, Vikend je dokazao ovo drugo.
Kao prvo i osnovno, ono što mora da se prizna Bernhardu Šlinku jeste da on stvarno sme da dirne u osinjak. Dakle, nakon nacističke prošlosti ovoga puta zaranja u terorističku prošlost Nemačke, ne tako davnih 70/80-tih godina prošlog
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Sarah
The listened to The Weekend as an audio book driving to and from Cleveland, so it's actually perfect that this post falls in the midst of Cleveland Week! I read this book because Schlink wrote one of my all-time favorite books, The Reader, which to me is one of the greatest books ever written (I have a thing for hopeless injustice, mistakes that ruin lives, and persistent love). While The Weekend didn't cover really any of those topics, it was still an interesting read and character study.

The We
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S.L. Dixon
That was a very entertaining little book. The characters were all well-round and at many times provoked strong responses while I read.
I really enjoyed the fiction within the fiction and by the end would've liked to read about the faster days of terrorist Jan rather than the slow final days of the terrorist Jorg, but I think that it was set the way it was is the reason I feel that way.
I know nothing of modern German terrorism, but it didn't hurt the level of enjoyment I got from the story.
There
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Annemarie
Wikken en wegen: drie of vier sterren?
De personages (een stuk of acht) worden bijna allemaal tegelijkertijd geintroduceerd: dat vraagt wat van de lezer. Het is dan ook onmogelijk voor Schlink om alle personages uit te diepen en 'body' te geven.

Desalniettemin bevalt de schrijfstijl. Schlink weet hoe hij de scenes en het verspringen van perspectieven in elkaar over moet laten vloeien. Mooie voorbeelden hiervan zijn 'het opstaan op de zaterdagochtend' en het moment waarop het huis watervrij wordt
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John
I'm not sure that this novel from the author of the excellent The Reader really works. The conflicts over how to deal with the release from prison of a German terorist make an interesting subject, and Schlink shows how it elicits different repsonses from different friends and relatives gathered for 'the weekend', but it all rather trails out inconclusively. I rather lost interest towards the end, and felt that maybe the author had done as well.
Buchdoktor
Nach 23 Jahren Haft wird der Terrorist Jörg aus dem Gefängnis entlassen, seine offizielle Begnadigung durch den Bundespräsidenten soll erst noch verkündet werden. Jörgs ältere Schwester Christiane holt ihn zu einem Treffen mit Freunden und Unterstützern von früher ab in ihr abgeschieden liegendes Haus in Brandenburg. Die zu dem Treffen erwarteten ehemals aufmüpfigen Kinder süddeutscher Akademikerfamilien haben sich inzwischen im Beruf etabliert. Älter und schwergewichtiger sind die Ex-Revolution ...more
Philip
I wish the Weekend was more of a week, really interesting developments and characters I just wanted more space for them to operate in. Particuarly the character and mystery (spoiler alert) of Jan, who although we get a hint of what happened to him I would have like more.
Vanita
Ein ehemaliger RAF-Terrorist wird nach 23 Jahren Haft begnadigt. Was soll er mit seinem Leben anfangen? Wie soll er den Menschen begegnen? Wie soll er mit seiner Vergangenheit umgehen?
Schlinks Hauptcharakter muss diese Entscheidungen an einem Wochenende treffen, denn er wird durch seine Jugendfreunde mit den alten Zeiten, der Gegenwart und der Frage nach der Zukunft konfrontiert, mit zwischenmenschlichen Beziehungen und moralischen Fragen.
Schlinks einfache, aber gewählte Sprache ist leicht zu le
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Martha Koskina
Schlink is a master in describing human psychology. In each and every book of his.
Doriana Bisegna
The Week-end is quite a different sort of novel with many underlying themes! There is the theme of friendship, of unconditional love, of forgiveness, of redemption and ultimately of acceptance...both of life and death. This is the Big Chill gangsta style..a gathering of friends and family for a released prisoner accused and guilty of terrorism in Germany. It was an interesting mix of characters and ideologies and I was intrigued by the interplay amongst these different personalities. After readi ...more
Boyd

It's hard to imagine that a boring novel could be written about characters based on the Baader Meinhof gang, but here it is. Schlink takes a riveting moment in modern German history, reimagines it as if the core members of the RAF had lived on into middle age, and then turns it into a lot of talky soul-searching by barely differentiated characters. Women are particularly ill-served and do little more than hover around the perimeter making coffee and providing coddling and sex. (It calls to mind
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Lawrence
I liked this book very much. Mr. Schlink creates a weekend "house party" in which the guests are invited to celebrate, as it were, the pardon or commutation of sentence of a 1970's German terrorist. Each guest previously knew the freed prisoner and/or was in some way associated with him. Twenty-five years and more have gone by since the trial and imprisonment, and all the guest who knew the terrorist have gone on with their lives. (Domestic terrorism and revolution was a major problem in the 70' ...more
Drew
I searched for this book for so long, hoping to score a nice used copy. All I could ever find was his book The Reader. Finally, I found it in Portland, at Powell's Books. Maybe I should have left it there.

Nevertheless, it is an addition to my collection of stories about the radicalized left in Germany in the post-war years. This novel had an interesting premise but the characters were never fleshed out and the plot was more a theme or feeling, rather than something that moved from start to fini
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Vicky
Interesting look at terrorism in the 70s and the impact it has made on society (at least in Europe/Germany). An even more interesting theme is the reintegration of criminals into society. Overall however, I found the book unsatisfying.

I quite liked 'The reader', and the investigations it made into the hidden motives of the people involved in atrocities in WW2 Germany, but this book had less insight, less depth and very little to interest me except for the character development and the way that f
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Andrew Reeves
Bernhardt Schlink's latest novel The Weekend is something of a paradox. The back stories of each of the characters is intriguingly interwoven into a plot that is not readily identifiable. From the outset, we discover an over-protective Christiane frantically trying to compose the perfect weekend for her brother who has just been released prison. The cast of characters she brings together are hardly the harmonious type.

Enter Jorg; a former terrorist and murderer who isn't quite sure what to make
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Vishy
I loved Bernhard Schlink’s ‘Homecoming’ and ‘The Reader’ and I thought at some point that I would like to read every one of Schlink’s works which has been translated into English. When I heard about ‘The Weekend’ and how it has polarized readers – with some loving the book and some hating it – I thought that I will read it and see where I stand on it. I had high hopes because Schlink had a hundred percent strike rate for me till now and typically that is the sign of a favourite author for me. I ...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
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More about Bernhard Schlink...
The Reader Homecoming Flights of Love : Stories Sommerlügen The Gordian Knot

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