The Reader was fascinating to me because it examines the idea that we are neither wholly good nor wholly evil. More importantly, it examines the horrible conflict that rages inside a person when they care for someone they know in one regard, but who has a “prior” life they can’t understand. Michael, a 15-year-old German boy, has an affair with Hanna, a 36-year-old woman. Years later, Hanna is on trial for war crimes committed while she served as an SS guard in a concentration camp. Following the trial, Hanna’s imprisoned. Much of the story involves Michael, reconciling his feelings for Hanna and how he has treated her. It is his exploration of the questions for which there are no easy answers, or answers at all.
The Reader belongs to a movement in German literature called Vergangenheitsbewältigung, “the struggle to come to terms with the past.” This genre explores the post-war generation’s approach to the generation before them; the generation that bore witness to Nazi atrocities and perhaps even participated.
That’s it…the end of 2011. Every day of writing this blog has been pure joy to me. I thank you for following along, for your encouragement, and for your friendship. I will always remember 2011 as the year my creative spirit woke up. I look forward to the New Year…2012!