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The Reader

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  151,121 Ratings  ·  9,104 Reviews
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
...more
Paperback, Oprah's Book Club, 218 pages
Published 1997 by Vintage International (first published 1995)
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Rosana
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder* I took it to mean there are situations you shouldn't involve yourself in, unless you are forced to (because of a hefty price like protecting your life…moreI took it to mean there are situations you shouldn't involve yourself in, unless you are forced to (because of a hefty price like protecting your life and self-defense.)(less)

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karen
booring. is that a review?? this was just very flat to me. i wasn't offended by the subject matter - i could care less about the "scandalous" elements. but the writing was so clinical and thin. at one point, i blamed the translation, but c'mon - its not that hard to translate german to english (i can't do it, of course, but it's supposed to be one of the easiest translations) i have nothing helpful to say about this except i was bored bored bored. the characters were unappealing, the "twists" we ...more
BlackOxford
What About the Children?

The Reader is a profound exposition of the 'second generation' issues concerning moral guilt for the Holocaust. But it is, I think, also relevant more generally to the way in which human beings get ensnared incrementally into the evils of their society. We are all inevitably involved in this larger problem. And, like the SS guards at a Nazi death camp, we are unaware of the moral peril of our situation, and unwilling to remove ourselves from that situation even when its h
...more
Lavinia
Nov 03, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009, fiction
I have the feeling there's more than one way of looking at this book. On one hand it can be viewed as a bildungsroman, it follows Michael Berg since the age of 15 till full maturity. On the other hand, it's the post-war German generation coming to terms with their past, the Nazi crimes and their parents' guilt. Guilt, actually, is a recurring theme in the novel: Hanna is guilty of war crimes, Michael is guilty for betrayal (plus he feels guilty for having loved Hanna and asks himself if that mak ...more
Whitney Atkinson
Jan 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
This is the deep character development and type of writing that i've been craving. A book that made me think and ask so many questions. Sometimes I felt like I was struggling through really heavy writing, but the actual story itself and the moral questions that arise from its telling were really, really interesting and I surprised myself with how much I found myself contemplating this novel. Someone told me there's a movie with Kate Winslet and she is my actual wife so i'm gonna go track that do ...more
Emily May
I'm not really sure why this book is considered one of the best books of all time and managed to make into the big 1001 list. Most of the time, even if I don't like a book, I tend to understand why someone else picked it. In this case, I'm rather clueless. Is it, perhaps, that people see in it some message about humanity when Hanna won't purchase her freedom with the secret she has kept hidden for years? Is it the vivid sexual tale of a teenage boy with an older woman? Are we supposed to be shoc ...more
İntellecta
Jun 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book is clearly structured. Also the choice of words is at a normal level and therefore also suitable for beginners in classical, great literature.
Apokripos
There are some books you know will stay with you forever, and Bernhard Schlink's The Reader is definitely one of them. It has been highly critically acclaimed, winning the Boston Book Review's Fisk Fiction Prize, and it deserves all the praise it has received.

The Holocaust is a difficult, though much covered, subject matter, and this novel has a sure touch and an appealing lack of judgment with it. The story begins in the world of almost-childhood of fifteen-year-old Michael Berg, recovering fr
...more
Hirdesh
Jan 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Great book.Wonderful piece and remotely expressed Words flowing like water in oceans.
I'd Miss someone with that book.
As the Young Lady entangled with teen.
Which flows the flawless love between them even when she got life imprisonment, She was turned to old. And Teen was turned to Man.
Time had changed, but their love sustained as he gave her recordings of stories.
Lovely Book.
Also, Watch movie based on this novel, My one of favourite actress, the drama Queen Kate Winslet's performance was surreal
...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
Der Vorleser = The reader, Bernhard Schlink
The Reader (Der Vorleser) is a novel by German law professor and judge Bernhard Schlink, published in Germany in 1995 and in the United States in 1997. The story is told in three parts by the main character, Michael Berg. Each part takes place in a different time period in the past. Part I begins in a West German city in 1958. After 15-year-old Michael becomes ill on his way home, 36-year-old tram conductor Hanna Schmitz notices him, cleans him up, and
...more
PirateSteve
Jan 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
" " I ... I mean ... so what would you have done? "
Hanna meant it as a serious question. She did not know what she should or could have done differently, and therefore wanted to hear from the judge, who seemed to know everything, what he would have done. "

This same question is posed in other situations throughout this book.
Should Michael, being the only other person to know Hanna's secret, have exposed this secret in order to help her during the trial?
Should Michael have been more understand
...more
Matt
Jun 09, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It's too simple to say I read any single book because I want to read it. There are dozens of reasons I'll pick up a particular title: I like the author; I like the subject matter; the book is an award winner; the book comes with many trusted recommendations; I was supposed to read the book in high school and I feel guilty because I played Goldeneye on my N64 instead. I will freely admit that I read War and Peace simply to say I read War and Peace. I'd take it to the cafeteria every day and let p ...more
Firdevs
Mar 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kitabı'n çok akıcı bir dili var, betimlemeler, duygusal ve psikolojik tahliller çok iyiydi..
Keşke Hanna nın ne düşündüğünü kendi ağzından öğrenebilseydim..
Okunası..
Jennifer
Mar 14, 2008 rated it did not like it
This book just fell short with me, on oh so many levels. One thing that did intrigue me and that I have not yet seen much of is the perspective of Germans after the Holocaust and their views on the Third Reich and Hitler's agenda, especially of the younger generation of that time. That was really the only thing that struck me about this book. The rest was just not enough. For one, the affair between MIchael and Hanna was deplorable. Is it supposed to not be as bothersome because it is an older w ...more
F
Jul 30, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Just not for me.
Hated both characters.
I didn't feel sorry for either of them.
Maria Clara
Jul 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hace unos días una compañera de GR me recomendó esta lectura, y no dudé ni un segundo en ir a la biblioteca para ver si tenían este libro. Es más, como sé que más o menos nos gustan las mismas lecturas, ni tan siquiera perdí el tiempo en leer la sinopsis. ¿Para qué lo iba hacer? Además, ¿no es más interesante abrir un libro sin saber lo que te vas a encontrar en su interior? ¿Dejarte llevar hacia donde él quiera conducirte? Pues bien, he de decir que esta lectura me ha gustado y sorprendido a pa ...more
Nandakishore Varma
There are certain books which have an impact on one, without one being able to put one's finger exactly on the reason why. 'The Reader' by Bernhard Schlink is such a book.

The experience of reading this book was like taking a train ride through a pleasant landscape: you mosey along comfortably, enjoying the view and the climate, settled and relaxed. The journey is comfortable enough without being anything out of the ordinary. Then suddenly, the train enters a section of the countryside which is b
...more
Britany
An Intensely powerful story and I'm still thinking "What do I do with this one??"

15 year old Michael Berg becomes sick and suddenly meets Hanna Schmitz, a much older woman who lives in his neighborhood. She helps him and they begin a relationship. He reads to her, and the intimacy is so strong that I'm not even sure how I should feel about it. It feels real and raw, and dripping in lust, while at the same time, it feels wrong, and I'm left feeling something hollow and wondering if the moral que
...more
Maxwell
I thought this was an interesting (if not somewhat disturbing) story, but not one that particularly blew me away. The questions of morality and complicity are intriguing as well; probably my favorite parts of the story where Michael's recollections of his experiences and trying to make sense of which were good, how he should feel about them in hindsight, etc. Glad I finally read this because it is so famous but not one that I'm in love with.
Elina
Dec 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Μια συγκλονιστική ιστορία ενηλικίωσης μέσα από μια ερωτική σχέση με φόντο τη ναζιστική γερμανία. Με μια ήρεμη δύναμη η αφήγηση απογειώνει το συναίσθημα. Κλείνω την αναγνωστική χρονιά μου με ένα ίσως από τα καλύτερα βιβλία που έχω διαβάσει!
Stewart
Dec 04, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whenever a film is coming out that is based on an acclaimed book, I try to read the book first (knowing that the reverse order almost never happens for me). The Reader is the latest such circumstance, and I'm glad I made the time for this quick read. The book centers on the reflections of a man who, as a teenager in post WW-II Germany, had a passionate love affair with a reticent and mysterious older woman. Mere months later, she disappears from his life. The rest of the book explains why, and t ...more
Lau
Dec 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lau by: Oprah's Book Club
«Quería tener sitio en mi interior para ambas cosas: la comprensión y la condena. Pero las dos cosas al mismo tiempo no podían ser.»

Es muy interesante este libro. Está ambientado en Alemania, pocos años después del fin de la Segunda Guerra Mundial y tiene un ritmo que va variando durante las tres partes en las que está dividido. Si bien al principio puede no parecer más que una historia juvenil de descubrimiento sexual, al ir transcurriendo el tiempo dentro de la vida del protagonista y narrad
...more
Chloe
This is not a book that I wanted to read. So many times while reading books about the Holocaust, I feel a disconnectedness from the events. It's a mixture of two things. The first is that the sheer scope of events is just too large, too horrific, for one person's words to do justice to it. The second, and this could partly be due to the first problem, is that I detest being manipulated by my books. With a lot of Holocaust literature the villains are stock characters; the malevolent Colonel with ...more
Arun Divakar
Mar 31, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The concept of love never ceases to amaze. From the cradle to the grave, a human being is guided,driven, motivated or annihilated because of it. Even when the presence of this feeling is what makes life tick for all humanity, we tend to call the romantic variant as 'falling in' love. This has always seemed ironical to me for if this feeling was as spiritually uplifting as it is believed to be, why don't we call it 'rising in' love ?

Ah ! But I digress from the point here ! This book is fuelled by
...more
Darlene
Jul 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Priscila Jordão
Dec 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: alemã, favorites
If Hanna’s illiteracy was used by the author as a metaphor to portray the ignorance that allowed an entire generation to perpetrate, or, at least, to comply with the crimes of WWII? I’m not so sure about it. After all, the germans were not more ignorant than other people at the time. Far from it.

My hypothesis is that Hanna’s illiteracy represents the inability of reading behind daily events and interpreting their possible consequences, which may sometimes be catastrophic.

For Hanna, there was n
...more
Cemre
Okuyucu'nun sinema uyarlaması çok çok sevdiğim filmlerden biri. Filmi bu kadar etkilediyse kitabı da aynı şekilde etkileyecektir diye düşünerek okumaya başladım ve kitabı bir çırpıda bitirdiğimde yanılmadığımı anladım. Film esnasında kafamda soru işaretlerine sebep olan pek çok noktanın aydınlandığını, Hanna'yı ve Michael'ı çok daha iyi anladığımı söyleyebilirim.

Kitap bence okuyucuyu zorlayan bir kitap. Akıcılık açısından bir zorlama değil bu, yarattığı çatışmalar sebebiyle bir zorlama. Hanna S
...more
Friederike Knabe
May 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: german-lit
The topic of the Holocaust is raised almost every day in some manner. Many books have been written about the topic. Whether in studies, documentaries or fictional accounts, finger-pointing at the perpetrators of the crimes against millions has been part of the process of coming to terms with the Nazi atrocities. For Imre Kertesz, renowned author and Nobel laureate of 2002, there is no other topic. Yet, when he reflects on the traumatic impact of Auschwitz, "he dwells on the vitality and creativi ...more
Vimal Thiagarajan
Aside from throwing light on lesser known post-war ramifications of the Nazi regime, this short, compact book surprised me with the number of moral, ethical and behavioral conundrums that it posed. These conundrums, if explored do not lead to answers but might lead to a sense of improved understanding - an understanding that is not limited to Nazi crimes, but can be applied to a whole host of mass crimes and post-war genocides where exploration isn't even an option. Bernhard Schlink's prose is s ...more
Joseph
Nov 19, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: foreign
Borrowed as an audiobook through Overdrive.

The Reader is a story about Michael Berg, who is a boy at the start of the story and Hanna Schmitz a trolly conductor living in postwar Berlin. A relationship develops between the two characters that become intimate in a lengthy relationship. There are struggles in the relationship with Hanna taking charge and at times acting a bit irrational. She leaves suddenly and the next time Michael sees her he is law school and she is on trial.

Hanna hides two se
...more
Jan Rice

--an edition with images from the 2008 movie, The Reader (which I haven't seen), with Kate Winslett in the character of Hanna Schmitz and Ralph Fiennes as Michael Berg

When I was in my early 20s, I fell in love with somebody I could not have, that is, he was not the marrying kind. After a while a friend of mine, a slightly older contemporary, told me that man I loved was bisexual, which ended my attraction, just like that. I wasn't repulsed--nothing like that; but the bond was broken.

I had anoth
...more
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765 followers
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
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“There's no need to talk about it, because the truth of what one says lies in what one does.” 420 likes
“I'm not frightened. I'm not frightened of anything. The more I suffer, the more I love. Danger will only increase my love. It will sharpen it, forgive its vice. I will be the only angel you need. You will leave life even more beautiful than you entered it. Heaven will take you back and look at you and say: Only one thing can make a soul complete and that thing is love.” 313 likes
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