Michael Berg , 15 year boy falls prey to Hepatitis falling ill on his way back home from school..Hanna Schmitz who works as a tram conductor helps him out...Everything goes haywire when he visits her to thank,and comes back again the next day, thus beginning their unusual affair of a 15 year boy and a woman more than twice his age...Strangely reading becomes an integral part of their relationship..One day Hanna disappears leaving Michael emotionally unstable with lot of insecurities never been able to develop a healthy relationship or friendship with anyone..He never expects to see her until he runs into her as a law student on a trial where she is defending against her crime (as a guard) killing 300 women in transit between camps ..He realises she is refusing to prove her innocence and he finds out the secret behind it...How he copes up with his own guilt and opening a window for Hanna to live forms the rest of the novel..
Initially, I thought its going to be all about a lewd relationship and reading. But slowly the tale unwraps itself revealing layers of thoughts, and many questions to ponder upon .... I was left thinking while reading at many places.... The novel moves across phases of Michael's life starting from his teenage which is central part of the novel with his high end relationship with Hanna its failure and the effect it has on his life..As a result of a relationship that fell apart, Michael is unable to cope up with his situations,he even ends up divorced with an estranged daughter .. He hates Hanna, at the same time he is unable to let her go off completely from his mind..
Hanna's character is a kind that you cannot come to love not even close to like, and that's the best part of it...She is illiterate at a time when everything around goes dark , She is unable to have a sense of morality nor a sense of responsiblity, though nothing can justify her actions,still her illiteracy plays a larger part in her actions..Even when she is accussed of killing 300 people ,at courtroom she comes out with a sense of pristine confession " I did what I was told to do"..Everything about her seems misguided..
Set in post war Germany ,holocaust's haunting memories lingers upon all the protogonists..I felt detached at places and evry much involved at some..
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