Posted by: Naomi | July 6, 2011

The Reader

Bernhard Schlink’s  novel, Der Vorleser is a small book, I expected it to be a quick and easy read. It is a wonderful example of how a tale can be told well and concisely, and still be brimming with almost tangible examples of reality and the human experience. It is the story of an illicit relationship with Michael, a fifteen year old student, and Hanna, a 36 year old streetcar conductor, who initiates him into an adult relationship. He spends hours reading to her, various works that he is studying, to her enjoyment. The relationship dissolves, and each goes their separate way, until Michael sees Hanna at a war crimes trial, where she is one of the defendants, as a former prison guard. The book touches on the themes of illiteracy, relationships, the impact people can have in our lives, and the generations of Germans who have to live with the consequences from the people that have gone before them. Literacy is something that weighs heavily on me, I think it is a privilege, and the responsibility of everyone to make sure the whole world can read. This is a wrenching and amazing book.

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