The Reader

I read the unabridged English audio version of Bernhard Schlink’s The Reader while travelling to Saskatchewan.  It was very well-produced and I found the book’s insights on relationships and human nature very insightful.  The complex portrayal of how Germans can come to terms with their actions during the Holocaust was riveting – I was touched especially by the following passage describing the protagonist’s feelings toward a former Nazi concentration camp guard:

“I wanted simultaneously to understand Hanna’s crime and to condemn it.  But it was too terrible for that.  When I tried to understand it, I had the feeling I was failing to condemn it as it must be condemned.  When I condemned it as it must be condemned, there was no room for understanding.  … I could not resolve this.  I wanted to pose myself both tasks – understanding and condemnation.”

This concept is further explored here.