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The Reader (Movie Tie-in Edition) Paperback – Nov 25 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reissue edition (Nov. 25 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307454894
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307454898
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 20.5 x 1.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 272 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (709 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #342,239 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 4 2004
Format: Hardcover
I have just finished reading "The Reader" and must say, that I disagree with the previous reviews. I'm not a particularly well-read reader but found this book slow-paced and I nearly gave up on it several times. I also found "the secret" very obvious from the start and not a very believable or realistic reason as to why Hanna would take the blame for the wicked event which took place.
Michael's behaviour during the trial was at times very frustrating and at the end of the book when he could have made amends he failed her again. I don't think I would recommend this book to anyone but value and appreciate other readers opinions.
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By Sofie TOP 500 REVIEWER on Nov. 26 2013
Format: Paperback
At first I couldn't get past the fact that fifteen-year-old Michael had a sexual affair with a 36-year-old woman. I found that to be disgusting and at first all I could focus on was the statutory rape and I ignored what this book was truly about - the desire for the discovery of the truth, the attempt to answer the question WHY, and the feeling of collective guilt. Yes, Michael was 15 and Hanna was 36. Yes, that was wrong. But there's no way this book could have been nearly as powerful, no way could Michael have been so deeply affected, no way could he have been so innocent throughout the Third Reich, if he were a grown man. He HAD to be young, naive, innocent. He HAD to be a contrast to the grown-up, illiterate, tainted Hanna. And once I accepted that, I began to truly love this book.

The Reader is not without its flaws. I wish Michael and Hanna's relationship had been built a little slower. It was insta-lust on his part which very quickly jumped to insta-"love", again on his part. That took away from the powerfulness of their relationship for me. It sort of made me just view Michael as a horny, delusional teenage boy instead of a boy who is battling powerful feelings for an older woman. The strong part of The Reader is hands-down the trial and what happens after it. That's when I got truly sucked in. You can feel Michael's suffering and angst throughout the book. After all, he was just a 15-year-old boy when the affair began, and he couldn't handle such a thing in his youth. Even in his adult years, he has not yet recovered. He never will, and that strongly shows in this book.

My mom saw the movie when it came out and she strongly sympathized with Hanna. "She didn't know what a strong affect she would have on his life," she told me.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Lorraine S. Eddy on Feb. 25 2004
Format: Paperback
It is much easier to write a scathing review than to be humbled in the face of what for me is, to date, the best book that I have ever read. THE READER By Bernard Schlink is only one of ten books that I have already read this year and though I have recommended it to others no one has had quite the irreversible effect from its reading that I did. I finished it awhile ago and yet there is not a detail that I don't still recall. I am not often up for a second reading of anything except WUTHERING HEIGHTS and yet I can hardly wait for the third copy I have purchased and loaned to be returned so that I can read it again. I am so afraid that I may have missed something in my first and second reading.
The reviews on this novel are honest and for me they spell out clearly why it meets so precisely my criteria for the near perfect story. Schlink never uses an extra word, never describes an event not absolutely essential to the story, never wastes or neglects a minute of your time. Truely, this is a story for the ages.
For weeks after reading about the middle-aged woman who would rather be exposed for an ex-Nazi guard than be found out to be uneducated in post-war Germany,I could only debate the decision of her former lover not to help her at her trial. I kept remembering how he had once loved her and how he had failed,in the course of his life, to find a relationship as important to him as the one he had had with her. I debated his choice with a vehemence I rarely feel, for any characters in a novel; afterall, it is once and for all only fiction, correct?
I was truely sorry to finish this book; it is unfortunately, a very quick read. Though it needed to be no longer in length, it was a genuine loss when it was finished and a story that I am still dizzy from.
This is a very small investment with a king sized reward!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Lawyeraau TOP 100 REVIEWER on July 5 2004
Format: Paperback
Winner of the Boston Review's Fisk Fiction Prize, this thematically complex story is written in clear, simple, lucid prose. It is a straightforward telling of an encounter that was to mark fifteen year old Michael Berg for life. The book, written as if it were a memoir, is divided into three parts. The first part of the book deals with that encounter.
While on his way home from school one day in post-war Germany, Michael becomes ill. He is aided by a beautiful and buxom, thirty six year old blonde named Hanna Schmitz. When he recovers from his illness, he goes to Frau Schmitz's home to thank her and eventually finds himself seduced by her and engaged in a sexual encounter. They become lovers for a period of time, and a component of their relationship was that Michael would read aloud to her. Michael romanticizes their affair, which is a cornerstone of his young life. They even go away on a trip together. Then, one day, as suddenly as she appeared in his life, she disappears, having inexplicably moved with no forwarding address.
The second part of the book deals with Michael's chance encounter with Hanna again. He is now a law student in a seminar that is focused on Germany's Nazi past and the related war trials. The students are young and eager to condemn all who, after the end of the war, had tolerated the Nazis in their midst. Even Michael's parents do not escape his personal condemnation. The seminar is to be an exploration of the collective guilt of the German people, and Michael embraces the opportunity, as do others of his generation, to philosophically condemn the older generation for having sat silently by. Then, he is assigned to take notes on a trial of some camp guards.
To his total amazement, one of the accused is Hanna, his Hanna.
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