I'd read THE READER (a novel) by Bernhard Schlink; for the first time in September 1999. After flitting an anthology of poetry by Rainer Maria Rilke (a German poet), the author's name comes to my mind. Why not I reread this international best seller novel by Prof.Berhard Schlink (also a practicing judge) in Germany.
I still remember the life of the student and (after that) undergrad named Michael Berg hooked to a woman twice of his age (Hanna). The intimate realtionship between them, turn to be phenomenal. In the Berg's own words : "...I was tormented by the old questions of whether I had denied and betrayed her, whether I owed her somehing, whether I was guilty for having loved her. Sometimes I asked myself if I was responsible for her death.." Hanna had committed suicide a day before she ought to be released. She herself experiencing failed life and deeply in depress. Hanna is facing a trial for a crime and she refuses to defend herself. She might be keeping a secret she thinks more shameful than murder.
Once, Berg says : "There's no need to talk, because the truth of what one says lies in what one does." (page 174)
The critic says : "The best novel I read this year...an unforgetable short tale about love, horrow and mercy." (Neil Ascherson : Independent on Sunday Books of the Year).
THE READER was translated from The German by Carol Brown Janway.
First Vintage Open Market Edition, August 1999.