I have not seen the film adaptation, so I went into this book without any preconceptions. I think that is a good thing after completing this short, but extremely powerful, listen. I'm going to address this review without discussing more than is present in the Audible synopsis above.
The Reader is, essentially, a parable for the generations following the Holocaust. Michael represents the generation immediately following the perpetrators, as represented by Hanna. I won't go any farther into the plot, though I am not sure how important refusing to present 'spoilers' actually would be in this instance.
This parable addresses one of the most horrifying questions of the 20th century; how could the perpetrators of the Holocaust (or arguably any genocide) do what they did? And, how do the generations that follow understand or, if possible, come to terms with their actions?
It also explores the long term damage those who perpetrated or allowed the atrocity did to those who came after the war. Hanna harmed Michael, whether she intended to or not. The generation before harmed the generations that followed.
I'm not sure those questions will be answered for many of the listeners to this book. At least not in a way that is satisfying; I know for me, I was satisfied. That is not to say that it is an easy read; I have a feeling this is going to be one of those books that follows me for quite a while.
Schlink is blunt and sparse in his writing. Every word serves a specific purpose and economy of usage is employed extensively. Many authors would have made this into a 10+ hour book; here we have a fully functional story in just 4 hours. I didn't feel as if anything was rushed or too many jumps were made; in fact, I think expanding the story would have detracted considerably from the issues at hand. You can tell a lawyer wrote it though.
Knowledge is knowing the way. Wisdom is looking for an alternative, more interesting road to get there. Audiobooks are that road.
When I was finished this book I felt empty. I couldn't decide if I liked it or not, however, it continues to pop into my thoughts and haunt me, and that is a sure sign that the book affected me.
Being a second generation holocaust survivor from both of my parents, I was raised with the holocaust in my veins, always learning and feeling the emotion of what my parents, their families and friends went through, one horror story after the other. I never took the time to understand what the second generation German people went through, a completely different perspective.
This dysfunctional "kid" (as he is referred to in the book), who even as an adult could not come to terms with his relationship with Hannah, was full of unresolved feelings and emotion too. Hannah herself could not admit and own up to what she had done. Also dysfunctional. A very dramatic book, which more than once, sent chills through me.
I am not sure if I would recommend this book to everyone. It is different. I can't quite put my finger on why. The narrator was fine, nothing special, but not a hindrance either.
What I will say is for a 4 hour book it certainly packs a punch. Will definitely see the movie.
I had no idea that this book was already in theaters. I can't imagine how it will be on the big screen, but as for the book, the writer and the reader, all I can say is that I could not put the book down. How courageous this book is! I cannot say that it answers the questions posed, but I very rarely have heard or read the questions asked. I read a lot, I totally recommend this book. Warning, it is heavy.
Though I purchased the book at the same time the movie was in theaters, I profoundly enjoyed listening to it. I was surprised by the ending and felt a sense of loss for one of the main characters. I would recommnend this book to anyone.
The Yahoo group for Audible users highly praised this book, and since it was short and inexpensive, I bought it and listened to it right away. I was not as impressed as some. It's a tenderly told coming-of-age story about some very damaged individuals in Germany, in the decades following WW2. Campbell Scott reads beautifully, without resorting to any dialects, which is refreshing, and the narrative is plaintive but fulfilling. In many ways an autopsy of a society, the novel excuses no one and gives a rare glimpse into the souls of a hapless persons in circumstances beyond their control and understanding.
My audio library is 900 books. This is the first time I have felt so compelled to comment that I can't not do so. The author's detailed examination of one human's obligations to another is cast upon backgrounds large and small, each easily identifiable thanks to meticulous thought and writing. This is also the first book I have listened to a second time and will do so again and again. It is not for everyone, only those who are up for thinking and whose natural curiosity is drawn toward human dynamics. Thank you, Berhnard Schlink, for taking the time and making the effort to develop your talent for our benefit.
I really enjoyed the story and the characters came to life because of the fine writing of Bernhard Schlink.
A very realistic and emotional story, and just the perfect length. Excellent plot.
Very anxious to listen to his other books.
I wonder if something was lost in translation from the German in this book. I just couldn't get too involved with these characters. It was written coldly and left me bored most of the time. I have studied German history extensively and normally the real stories of the holocaust get me so upset that I wonder why I read this or watched that.
This one left me thinking, well, so what? The seduction of a 15 year old boy affected his entire life. That's not unusual. The context of the German holocaust was the difference here.
It was just so unemotionally written that I didn't relate to anyone and I was glad when it was over.
I was eager to listen/read this after seeing an interview with kate winslet. She spoke of the book with such high praise. I was intrigued by the characters and held in suspense until the very end.
I listened to this book today, on a bright, sunny, southern California afternoon, on our patio overlooking the lake below our house, while knitting for twin grandbabies due soon. I was warmed by the sun, enchanted by the ducks and geese, filled with joy as I anticipated the birth of these two precious lives. Warmth, enchantment, joy. Such a contrast to the lives of the characters playing in my ears. All I can say is WOW! I think this is an afternoon and a book that I will long remember.