(This is an excerpt of my book review written for Culturazzi Cognoscente Club with whom I am currently collaborating and contributing to. The full review may be read by clicking on this link.)

I finished reading this book many weeks ago but held off writing a review about it in order that time and some space in between would enable me to look at the story more objectively. By this, I mean to be more detached from the characters of the book and to understand the circumstances and events in their proper historical context.

The Reader is written by German judge and law professor, Bernhard Schlink. It was published in German in 1995 and translated into English in 1997. In 1999 it was selected for Oprah’s Book Club, not to mention garnering various other literary awards.

One can read this book as a story of a love affair set in post-war Germany between a 15 year old boy and a  woman twice his age (whose illiteracy she tries to keep secret – at whatever cost), who is later exposed as an SS guard during the Second World War.

Or one can read it and see the tale as something deeper than mere romance; that the romance and the characters of the boy and woman, Michael Berg and Hanna Schmitz, respectively, as emblematic of two generations of Germans dealing with the issues of guilt and remorse stemming from their country’s role as lead perpetrator of the Jewish Holocaust. And Hanna’s illiteracy as synonymous with their denial and/or ignorance of the crimes committed by many in the name of the State.

(Read the rest of the review here)