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Are words pointless?

Benjamin Markovits: Bernhard Schlink, 21 March 2002

Flights of Love 
by Bernhard Schlink, translated by John Woods.
Weidenfeld, 309 pp., £12.99, February 2002, 0 297 82903 3
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... The generation battle, in its particular post-Third-Reich incarnation, runs through Bernhard Schlink’s work, both his bestselling The Reader and Flights of Love, a collection of short stories loosely arranged around various break-ups and infidelities. Reviewers tend to discuss the books together, partly because Flights of Love develops plots, characters and arguments already present in The Reader, but mostly because The Reader is better, more interesting even in its failures than this sequel ...

Thoughts about Hanna

Gabriele Annan, 30 October 1997

The Reader 
by Bernhard Schlink, translated by Carol Brown Janeway.
Phoenix House, 216 pp., £12.99, November 1997, 1 86159 063 6
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... initiation and growing competence, as well as the pure delight of sex, come steaming off the page. Schlink writes marvellously about adolescence and about sex. He is particularly good on smells like soap and fresh sweat, and he does it with hardly any adjectives. Michael’s idiom is spare to the point of austerity, in keeping with the man he has become 30 ...

Who is Angela Merkel?

Franziska Augstein, 14 July 2011

... Schlegel-Tieck prize for his translations from German, which include Freud, Musil, Schnitzler and ...

The Iron Rule

Jacqueline Rose: Bernhard Schlink’s Guilt, 31 July 2008

by Bernhard Schlink, translated by Michael Henry Heim.
Weidenfeld, 260 pp., £14.99, January 2008, 978 0 297 84468 6
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... Towards the end of Bernhard Schlink’s best-known novel, The Reader, the narrator is pondering his future after taking his state exam in law. He has just seen his former lover, Hanna Schmitz, convicted of war crimes: she had been a concentration camp guard, something he hadn’t known when she seduced him as a 15-year-old boy ...

Op Art

Joshua Cohen: Joshua Sobol, 3 March 2011

Cut Throat Dog 
by Joshua Sobol, translated by Dalya Bilu.
Melville House, 270 pp., £10.99, November 2010, 978 1 935554 21 9
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... finds its most cerebral innovators abroad: Georges Simenon (Belgium), Leonardo Sciascia (Italy), Bernhard Schlink (Germany). What must be its mandarin masterpiece was written in French in 1969: Georges Perec’s La Disparition is a lipogram, from the Greek lipogrammatos (‘missing symbol’), denoting a text that excludes one or more letters. The ...

The Hero Brush

Edmund Gordon: Colum McCann, 12 September 2013

by Colum McCann.
Bloomsbury, 298 pp., £18.99, May 2013, 978 1 4088 2937 0
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... Gerard Donovan reminds him of ‘other great writers, not least Knut Hamsun, Franz Kafka and … Bernhard Schlink’. McCann is the high priest of high praise, always handy with a blessing. But his easy way with superlatives means that when he wants to pay a special tribute – to suggest that a writer is even better than Nathan Englander – he tends ...

Such amateurishness …

Neal Ascherson: The Sufferings of a Young Nazi, 30 April 2009

The Kindly Ones 
by Jonathan Littell, translated by Charlotte Mandell.
Chatto, 984 pp., £20, March 2009, 978 0 7011 8165 9
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... monster, monotonous, one-dimensional, even boring. Some critics have compared The Kindly Ones to Bernhard Schlink’s The Reader, but Schlink is writing about an uneducated, limited woman with no imagination who makes a series of disastrous wrong calls that land her in the dock as an SS killer. What happened to this ...

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