The Reader is significant in so many ways: it is a parable, social commentary, and a love story. The Reader reminds me of a quote by Ali “There is no wealth like knowledge, no poverty like ignorance.” In Schlink’s novel, a young man named Michael Berg contracts a bad case of Hepatitis. Berg becomes sick on the way home from school and is assisted by a beautiful woman. Months later Michael recovers and falls in love with the woman, Hanna. Michael’s first relationship shapes a great deal of his life.
The Reader is a thought provoking, moving, and disquieting novel, originally published in German. As is often the case, the book outshines the film. Schlink’s novel conveys many episodes in Michael Berg’s adolescence, particularly the depth and breadth of his involvement in the Holocaust seminar. Whereas many of such details are omitted from the film; also of particular significance is the list of writers Hanna reads later in life. I highly recommend The Reader; also I highly recommend reading Schlink’s novel before seeing the film; although the film is very good too. The Reader is probably the best most moving and disquieting piece of Holocaust literature I have read, since Schindler’s Ark.
Read Jordan Gaines’ review of The Reader.
Availability: SMCM Library
Review Submitted by: Kevin Oldfield
Rating: Highly Recommended