To say that Bernhard Schlink’s book The Reader is a love story that turns into a Holocaust novel may be glib, but it isn’t completely inaccurate. The plot unfolds in two distinct sections. First, in the late 1950s, a German youngster of fifteen, Michael Berg, has an intensely sexual affair with a thirtyish streetcar conductor named Hanna Schmitz. After a summer of bedroom gymnastics and emotional bonding cemented, at her request, by the boy’s reading aloud to...
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