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 inexplicably disappears. When Michael next sees her, he is a young law student, and she is on trial for a hideous crime.
Set in post-war Germany, at the heart of this novel is the question of how the second generation deals with the guilt and the knowledge of the Holocaust.
What starts as a story of forbidden love The Reader builds into a much more important subject, for which Schlink has received international praise in his handling of it.
I found this novel deeply moving and introspective. Ultimately, we all play our part in turning away from the issues happening in our own times.
“There’s no need to talk about it, because the truth of what one says lies in what one does.”
READ NOW: The Reader
GENRE: Historical fiction