11 Following


Currently reading

Foras-da-lei barulhentos, bolhas raivosas e algumas outras ...
Ted Thompson, Sam Swope, Nick Hornby, Neil Gaiman

The Reader

The Reader - Bernhard Schlink, Carol Brown Janeway I wanted to like this book more than I did.It's well written, and the description indicated to me a good foundation for a story.The description implies that the reader will wrestle with some interesting moral dilemmas. In particular a secret the protagonist's lover, Hanna, considers more shameful than murder. And I love a good moral quandary.However, two things are very wrong with this novel. First, it's painfully clear what Hanna's secret is from about page 35 on (and there are easy clues to it well before that). Second, that anyone considers that particular 'shame' fact worse than having been an SS guard at a concentration camp is, frankly, ridiculous.I'm sure there's a cultural divide here. Positive actually. But, even granting that, it was too much to credit for me. I, and others I know who've read this, spent the next 125 or so pages waiting for Michael to clue in to what Hanna's secret was, which made the rest of the book very tedious. Michael's inner monologues during the trial were rendered flat because of the inept hiding of the secret combined with it being completely out of scale with Hanna's alleged crimes. He doesn't come across as contemplative, but instead as wishy-washy.SPOILER ALERT(Though given that I think an eight year old could figure out the secret by page 40, I'm not sure how much of a spoiler this really is.)Hanna's secret? She's illiterate. I'm not sure what the literacy rate amongst women was in mid-20th century Germany was, but I'm sure she wasn't the only one, particularly given that Germany was just as wrecked by recession and depression in decade before WWII as any other country.She's too ashamed by it to bring it up in her own defense in the trial - even though she faces life imprisonment. Even though the other defends use her lack of knowledge of what's going on (because, of course, she can't read any of the documents relevant to her trial) to heap guilt on her and off themselves.That's not a moral issue. That's what we called 'stupid'. I was not wondering if it was more moral for Michael to let Hanna hang herself versus letting her secret out, I was wondering if these two people are both too stupid to do the right thing and let the court know all the facts about the case.They are - and in Michael's case, as he was practically bludgeoned with evidence of Hanna's illiteracy - I suppose I should not have been surprised. Hanna spend's 18 years in prison.As her release nears, things are particularly awkward. There's no tension around the question of whether they will be together after she gets out, only a question of what the nature of their non-relationship will take.