Reading of responsibility
The Reader is a subtle, thought-provoking work that continues – but does not quite belong to – a tradition of Holocaust literature. The novel very cleverly raises questions about the nature of complicity and the boundaries of responsibility. It also examines the idea of collective ‘amnesia’ and its consquential twin, collective guilt. It achieves this through a deceptively simple narrative that enables a degree of analysis and discourse without the author having to overtly theorise. The narrative carries both a metaphorical and emotional weight that is quietly devestating without having to depict the horrors of the concentration camps in explicit detail.
The writing, economic and sometimes a little stark, can be read as a little cold, dispassionate. But more often it is devestatingly precise. However, there are moments when the language gets a little glitchy, and you suspect something has been lost in the translation. Overall though, the novel is both intensely sad and mentally stimulating, sustenance for the heart and the head. A modern classic.
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