The Reader by Bernhard Schlink


Rating – 5 stars

I have come to recognize, flawed protagonists are the most beautiful ones. There is no dearth of the seemingly perfect creatures. But unfortunately, there isn’t a lack of pretense as well.

But everyone once a while  you come across a story, read a book and discover a protagonist who in all glory is a flawed character. That flaw is what draws you in. These stories said the least and deserved hearing the most.

Hanna and Michael’ story is one of them.

Set against the backdrop of Germany Michael’ perspective forms the narrative of the book.

The book transcends across the three phases of Michael’ life beginning with his teens, where an aging Michael recalls first meeting Hanna and their relationship which takes place over the summer. To how he next meets her while studying  law who learns that Hanna is one of the defendants of a trial, he has to study. And lastly wherein before her death, Michael has his last meeting with her.

Set post World War II in a Germany that is to put it mildly  – lost and rather confused –  the book draws parallels between the lives of its two central characters and that of the country.  A past full of mistakes and shame that is laden with disappointment and a future that truly has no idea of what’s next, that has all these questions but not a way to get an answer that will be satisfactory in any means whatsoever.

This book has me in knots somewhat there are so many things running through my head, so much I have going on that it is all jumbled up. I have been trying to put into words all my thoughts but that just doesn’t happen. A book that is hard to review is a book worth reading sometimes as I have experienced.  

I cannot sum up the words to actually narrate how I feel so I will give it a rest for this one.  All I can say is, it has to be read to be known and experienced. 


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