cover image El Lector = The Reader

El Lector = The Reader

Bernhard Schlink. Vintage Espanol, $13.95 (203pp) ISBN 978-0-307-47310-3

After falling ill on the street in the German town where he lives, 15-year-old Michael is helped by a woman named Hanna. When he returns to her apartment to thank her several months later, he begins a passionate love affair with her. In time, she demands that he read aloud to her before they make love, and they essay some of Germany's and the world's great literature together. One day, however, Hanna disappears without saying farewell, and Michael grieves and believes it to be his fault. He finds her again years later when, as a law student, he encounters her as the defendant in a court case. This very readable novel probes the nature of love, guilt, and responsibility while painting a sympathetic portrait of Michael and an achingly complex picture of Hanna. [Originally translated into Spanish in 2000, this movie-tie in edition is recommended for all general collections.] [LJ 6/1/97]