Though the book, The Reader by Bernhard Schlink, is over a decade old it is back on the front table and topshelves again because of the movie version.
In short: this is a fantastic book. You should READ it before seeing the movie.
Writing a review of the book poses a challenge because of how the story develops and the content of the story. To write to0 much about the story itself would destroy some of the experience of reading it.
It’s a mere 200ish pages, reads in probably a long night of reading or over a period of 3 or 4 nights before you go to sleep.
Yes, it is a love story and crime story and a slice of history piece. It has all the trimmings of lost love, failed dreams, shame, moral dilemmas and truth seeking. It is not remarkable in style or story arc or character development. The Reader startles you in the conclusions it doesn’t draw.
What a sad story, I thought for so long. Not that I now think it was happy. But I think it is true, and thus the question of whether it is sad or happy has no meaning whatever.
– page 217, The Reader
I brought to it my world view and in that context I found a sympathetic story to my belief that we are not objective, autonomous humans capable of rising above the environments and realities of our own situations. Truth is contingent on context. Our justice systems, historical accounts, and romantic relationships can’t escape this fact.