The Reader by Bernhard Schlink (rediscovered in Czech Republic)

THe-READERWhen I first heard about this book I didn´t pay it much attention. Too many books piled all over my place and too little time to read them.

A couple of weeks ago, its existence returned to my life during a Writing Workshop. Right after that, I headed to Czech Republic for work. I arrived in the late afternoon, tired but too curious to stay in the hotel and rest (as I probably should).

– Screw the shoulds – I said to the hotel room ceiling which was silently begging me to go out and see the world.

I rearranged my head, my rain coat and my will power; I said goodbye to the warmth at that cosy hotel in Brno and to the self-promised nap. It was only a question of minutes until my mouth started to open, no closure in sight. Brno is a stunning city, in an Austrian-Hungarian mood, with some weird innovative architectural pieces, like a statue of Beethoven composed of an old man´s face inserted in a young boy´s body (Mr. Freud called to the reception!) or a metal clock (where no one can see the time) that looks like a giant penis. And it doesn´t end there.

I walked, gasped, breathed deeply in appreciation for the chance to experience all that beauty and, inevitably, got into a bookshop searching for troubles (aka more books). “The Reader” was the first that ran to my hands. There are no coincidences. A MUST read. Highly disturbing. Also mind and heart opening, as art should be. I read it in a wink but the echo of the words inside that book is still haunting me. Brilliant writing; brilliant (hard) subject; brilliant effect on the reader. “The Reader”, the book, throws the whole matter back to the reader, the person who´s reading the book; it´s a boomerang, so smooth and well directioned you don´t even feel it´s coming your way.

By the end of the reading, you may have become a better, more intelligent and compassionate, person. Is there anything else you can ask from a book (or any other creative piece)?

The trailer of the movie based on the book:


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