The Reader

By  Bernhard Schlink

About the Book 

For 15-year-old Michael Berg, a chance meeting with an older woman leads to far more than he ever imagined. Before long the pair embark on a passionate, clandestine love affair which leaves Michael both euphoric and confused. For Hanna is not all she seems. Years later, as a law student observing a trial in Germany, Michael is shocked to realise that the person in the dock is Hanna. The woman he had loved is a criminal. Much about her behaviour during the trial does not make sense. But then suddenly, and terribly, it does – Hanna is not only obliged to answer for a horrible crime, she is also desperately concealing an even deeper secret. 

What Bernhard Schlink thinks about World Book Night

"World Book Night – what a wonderfully democratic celebration of reading! I am honored and delighted to be part of it."

What we thinkBernhard Schlink - photo

“At its most simple The Reader is about the war, a loss of innocence, atonement, with the power of reading and the written word – and the stinging shame and damage of illiteracy  – running through it. But it’s about so much more than that and above all about how far we’ll go to hide the things we’re most ashamed to admit. A modern masterpiece that simply has to be read by everyone.”

Length: 216 pages

More by Bernhard Schlink

Summer Lies
Homecoming
Flights of Love

Author biography

Bernhard Schlink was born in Germany in 1944. A professor of law at Humboldt University, Berlin, and Cardozo Law School, New York, he is the author of the major international bestselling novel and film THE READER, short-story collection FLIGHTS OF LOVE and several prize-winning crime novels. He lives in Berlin and New York.

On World Book Night

In a world that sometimes seems over-burdened with conflict, World Book Night stands out as a precious beacon. It has two messages: one is that reading is sheer joy and the other is that the act of giving is intrinsically good. The energy that Jamie Byng and his team have brought to this lovely project is astonishing and wonderful. I hope this tradition goes on as long as books are made and read.

Alexander McCall Smith

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