The Gordian Knot

Bernhard Schlink, Author, Peter Constantine, Translator
Bernhard Schlink, trans. from the German by Peter Constantine, Vintage, $15.95 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-0-375-72556-2
Reviewed on: 10/11/2010
Release date: 12/01/2010
In Schlink's unremarkable stand-alone thriller, the fortunes of Georg Polger, a German living in France who's struggling to make ends meet as a translator, change after he receives an offer of steady employment translating technical manuals. The naïve Polger doesn't suspect anything untoward about the job, even after learning his employer has paid him to duplicate work already done. When he finds that his new lover, Françoise Kramsky, is covertly photographing confidential plans for a new military helicopter, Polger's search for the truth takes him to pre-9/11 New York City, where the plot goes somewhat off the rails. Schlink fails to make the transformation of his colorless, mild-mannered hero into an action figure convincing. Those looking for a more engaging protagonist will find one in the author's detective series featuring Gerald Self (Self's Murder, etc.). (Dec.)
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