Whisking the reader between Europe and USA, this collection of seven short stories contemplates love and loss, truth and deceit.
With scenarios that are believable and characters that grapple with the very same questions that challenge us in our relationships, these stories are both thoughtful and thought-provoking. Translated from German.
Comments from Groups
A well -written book, which the group whole-heartedly recommend to other groups. Wellington 001
Everyone in the group enjoyed this book. One person read the stories twice. Havelock North 005
We had a very good meeting. It might be worthwhile considering the allocation of one short story per person, to be discussed in detail by them, with the other members of the group then adding comments. Raumati 001
We decided that the main problem with all these characters was the lack of communication. None expressed themselves clearly, or were honest with each other. Most of the group not fans of short stories - they felt they didn't get to know their characters well enough. Newport 012
Overall we found it rather depressing! However, we recognised that the stories were thought-provoking, and they did initiate very good discussion. We wondered whether anything had been lost in translation? Everyone in the group read this book, which is a first! Dunedin 089
Some of our group felt that the stories were over-written and a little contrived in order to fit the message or particular emotion Bernard Schlink was trying to convey. Perhaps the translation did him a disservice. Short stories pose a different type of challenge to the reader/discussion group. Auckland 094
The stories in this book generated a lot of discussion. People enjoyed the stories, despite not often liking the main character. Mostly there was compassion for the characters' situations.
Subject matter of some of the stories challenging for some members. However, very interesting discussions on euthanasia and fidelity at our meeting.
Stories provoked lively discussion with much disagreement about characterisation and story topics. The book illustrates why we go to book club; we read stuff we wouldn't normally read, and talk about things we wouldn't normally talk about. Thoroughly recommend to other book clubs.
We all enjoyed this book and found the stories very insightful, and thought the characters were very believable. The fact that the book was short stories came at a very good time for us as all so BUSY...so to read a short story was great!! Would defintely encourage others to read this!!
An interesting mix, and well-written. Gave us all a chance to talk about the ones we found interesting in terms of relationships and characters. We also talked about other short story writers, in particular Somerset Maugham, and his insight into human relationships. Good to have short stories occasionally.
Excellent despite the fact many do not usually enjoy short stories. Beautiful writing about the human condition resonated with us. Highly recommended. Good discussion.
Our group enjoyed the short-story format for a change. We definitely related to some stories more than others.
Great book. Lively discussions.
Well received by some, they loved the writer and his style of writing. Others didn't like the content of some of the stories.
A mixed response to this book - readers didn't care about the characters sufficiently to get fully engaged ( other than in 'The Last Summer') - all stories were about flawed characters. Good translations, but only 2 members would rate this as a must read.
Beautiful short stories, difficult at times and depressing for some. Well-written and realistic...
We were divided in our assessments, so had a very animated discussion. The book led us to reflection on our own experiences in life, especially that lying can take a lot of different forms with differing consequences. The author was very good at exploring the justifications you make to yourself about lying, shifts in power and control, and regrets that come with it.