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The Reader
The Reader
Author: Bernhard Schlink, Carol Brown Janeway (Translator)
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. As he watches her refuse to defend her innocence, Michael gradu...  more »
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ISBN-13: 9780307454898
ISBN-10: 0307454894
Publication Date: 11/25/2008
Pages: 224
Edition: Reprint
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.

3.6 stars, based on 293 ratings
Publisher: Vintage
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio Cassette, Audio CD
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed The Reader on + 4 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 16
I just finished this book, and thoroughly enjoyed it. It is about a 15 year old boy who had an affair with a woman in her mid-30's. Later, years after the affair ended, he runs across her again while he is a law student. He is observing a trial for which she is the defendant charged with Nazi war crimes. The book brings up a lot of ethical questions - not just about the affair, but about the crimes for which she is accused. It would be a great book club read. Wish I had read it that way, as I'd love to have someone to discuss it with. I think it would be a good book to read in tandem with Lolita for a book club and then discuss the comparisons of the affiar the boy has with the woman and the obsession Humbert has with Lolita. The ending was a surprise to me!
obsidianfire avatar reviewed The Reader on + 133 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 11
Couldn't put this one down. Read it in one day. I was totally thrown for what she was in court for, and what her secrete was, though I did figure it out before it was written in the book. Great read, but definately a sad tale.
reviewed The Reader on + 2 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 9
Shocking relationship, shocking turn of events. Very captivating. Simple and compelling. Makes one think. Recommend if you can deal with descriptions of intimacy.
reviewed The Reader on + 2 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 8
I LOVED this book, couldn't put it down. One of the best books I have read in a long, long time. A short read, but very fulfilling. The writing is excellent and so insightful. This book reminded me that there is always more than one way to look at a situation and that things are not always what they seem (don't be quick to judge). I thought about the book long after I finished reading it.
Ryeth avatar reviewed The Reader on + 82 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 8
A quick read that was very well written. You develop a relationship with the charecters. It starts off with some fairly blatent erotic parts, but develops into a fully story. I'd recommend it.
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emeraldfire avatar reviewed The Reader on
Walking home from school one day, fifteen-year-old Michael Berg becomes seriously ill. He is rescued by Hanna Schmitz, a woman twice his age. Hanna, a bus conductor, tends to Michael and then takes him back to his home. Over time, Michael and Hanna form a relationship, and she becomes his lover - then she inexplicably disappears from Michael's life.

When Michael next sees Hanna, he is a young law student, sitting in on a trial in which Hanna is a defendant. She is accused of a hideous crime, but inexplicably refuses to defend herself. As he watches her refuse to defend her innocence, Michael is at first perplexed by her actions. However, as the trial continues, he gradually realizes that Hanna may be guarding a secret which she considers more shameful than murder.

I absolutely loved this book. I was drawn into the plot very quickly; and by about two pages in, I was completely engrossed in the story. This was a translation from the original German, but it was a very well-written, understandable, and easy read for me. In my opinion, the story flowed along easily and I avidly wanted to know what happened next.

This was an unusual book to begin with - and while I haven't seen the 2008 movie adaption starring Kate Winslett and Ralph Fiennes - I enjoyed the book very much. I give this book an A+!
joan13 avatar reviewed The Reader on + 47 more book reviews
This is a parable, addressing the challenges post-war German generations have had understanding the Holocaust. The Reader examines how the post-war generations should approach those who participated in or witnessed the atrocities.
A tale of 15-year-old Michael Berg, who has an affair with Hanna, a woman more than twice his age. She disappears one day, and he anticipates he will never see her again. However, after many years, their paths cross again at a trial where she is accused of a Nazi crime. Michael must then struggle with the implications of their relationship and what, if anything, he may owe Hanna.
A story of story of love, betrayal, war, and reading aloud.
bulldoglover22 avatar reviewed The Reader on + 105 more book reviews
I heard so many good things about this book has been given a lot of positive reviews. However, I just did not like the book. I found it to be dull and not a "page turner" at all. I think it lacks substance and it did not hold my attention. I did finish the book, as it is not very long, but I was disappointed overall.


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