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
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

I love the generosity of World Book Night - the philosophy is basically, 'Here, have an ace thing.'  What could possibly go wrong?  People, including me, normally say that sarcastically, but I seriously mean it in this instance.

Sophie Hannah

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