Friday, January 30, 2009

The Reader - post III

This story ends with you choking back the tears. Not so much for Hanna’s character but the sense of what is lost by an untimely death. Those that went through the holocaust were cut down and so that theme continues years later.

After all Hanna says that the only people she feels she has to answer to are the dead.

This story is weaved brilliantly with the sense of victim hood continuing right to the very end. Michael was never one of Hanna’s victims in the camps but he ends up being damaged by her long afterwards and his sexual and marital relationships are damaged by his youthful experiences.

But this is also a book about a generation of Germans, step forward Michael’s father, that were unable to face up to the past even if they themselves were not guilty of being involved with the crimes. That sense of everyone being either a victim or guilty is something that you are encouraged to question.

That seems to be the lasting impact of the story with you wondering just where the lines between the past and the present can be drawn and when a victim becomes a persecutor and vice versa.

A review will follow soon…

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