When I saw this book in a thrift store a week ago, in the hands of woman I barely knew, I said to myself that I will never get out of this store without it carefully tucked between my armpit. Luckily, the woman brought it down and I paid for it first thing when she left the store. Truly, good books will find you.
The story revolves around Michael Berg, a fifteen year old German boy and his affair with a woman twice his age, Hannah. They made love every afternoon. Eventually, their afternoon ritual included reading books aloud. Michael read it to Hannah. Hannah’s a great listener. But one day, she left.. And everything followed after that. Michael Berg was left craving for her. Turned out Hanna has a secret past. And another secret, which she finds shameful.
I found The Reader more than what I bargained for. It’s a thought provoking book with post World War II issues and moral conundrums to ponder in every page. The book gives us glimpse of what Germany looks like after the second World War, how coming to terms with the past and finding the way home are activities that resonate with Germans living in the aftermath of World War II and the reunification of Germany. I admire the depth of every character. Readers will be called to judge the actions of both characters, and by that I experienced the difficulty of letting "justice pour down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream" in a world in which both justice and righteousness have lost their deontological moorings.
I recommend it for anyone who has ever felt the rain. I have to say that at first, I only read it for the sexual parts. I was there, craving alongside with Michael, but mind you, the book is more than that.