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By Bernhard Schlink, Carol Brown Janeway

Hailed for its coiled eroticism and the ethical claims it makes upon the reader, this captivating novel is a narrative of affection and secrets and techniques, horror and compassion, unfolding opposed to the haunted panorama of postwar Germany.

When he falls unwell on his method domestic from college, fifteen-year-old Michael Berg is rescued by means of Hanna, a lady two times his age. In time she turns into his lover—then she inexplicably disappears. while Michael subsequent sees her, he's a tender legislations pupil, and he or she is on trial for a hideous crime. As he watches her refuse to protect her innocence, Michael steadily realizes that Hanna could be guarding a mystery she considers extra shameful than homicide.

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Michael’s Basilica, the Bismarck Tower, the Philosophers’ course, the banks of the river—I didn’t range my direction a lot from one Sunday to the subsequent. i discovered there has been sufficient style within the vegetables that grew to become richer and richer from week to week, and within the floodplain of the Rhine, that used to be occasionally in a warmth haze, occasionally hidden in the back of curtains of rain and occasionally overhung by way of hurricane clouds, and within the smells of the berries and wildflowers within the woods while the sunlight blazed down on them, and of earth and final year’s rotting leaves while it rained. besides I don’t want or search a lot sort. every one trip a bit additional than the final, the following holiday within the new position i found in the course of my final holiday and cherished . . . For your time i assumed I could be extra bold, and made myself visit Ceylon, Egypt, and Brazil, sooner than I went again to creating standard areas extra primary. I see extra in them. i've got rediscovered where within the woods the place Hanna’s mystery grew to become transparent to me. there's not anything exact approximately it now, nor was once there whatever targeted then, no surprisingly formed tree or cliff, no strange view of the town and the obvious, not anything that might invite startling institutions. In puzzling over Hanna, going around and around within the comparable tracks week after week, one notion had break up off, taken one other path, and eventually produced its personal end. while it did so, it was once done—it might have been wherever, or at the very least wherever the familiarity of the environment and the surroundings allowed what was once really excellent, what didn’t come like a bolt from the blue, yet have been transforming into within myself, to be well-known and permitted. It occurred on a course that climbed steeply up the mountain, crossed the line, handed a spring, after which wound lower than previous, tall, darkish timber and out into mild underbrush. Hanna may possibly neither learn nor write. That was once why she had had humans learn to her. That was once why she had enable me do all of the writing and interpreting on our bicycle journey and why she had misplaced keep watch over that morning within the inn whilst she came upon my observe, discovered i'd imagine she knew what it acknowledged, and was once afraid she’d be uncovered. That was once why she had shunned being promoted through the streetcar corporation; as a conductor she may well cover her weak point, however it may became visible while she was once being educated to develop into a driving force. That used to be additionally why she had refused the promoting at Siemens and develop into a protect. That used to be why she had admitted to writing the record so as to get away a disagreement with knowledgeable. Had she talked herself right into a nook on the trial for a similar cause? simply because she couldn’t learn the daughter’s booklet or the indictment, couldn’t see the openings that will let her to construct a protection, and therefore couldn't arrange herself hence? used to be that why she despatched her selected wards to Auschwitz? To silence them in case they'd spotted anything? And used to be that why she continuously selected the vulnerable ones within the first position? used to be that why? i'll keep in mind that she used to be ashamed at now not having the ability to learn or write, and might fairly force me away than disclose herself.

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