As a child raised by his mother in post-war Germany, Peter Debauer becomes fascinated by a story he discovers in the proof pages of a novel edited by his grandparents. It is the tale of a German prisoner of war who escapes from a Russian camp and braves countless dangers to return home to a wife who believes him to be dead.
But the novel is incomplete - Peter has inadvertently used the end pages of the proof for his homework - and he becomes obsessed by the question of what happened when the soldier and his wife met again.
Years later, the adult Peter remembers the novel and embarks on a search for the missing pages that soon becomes a search for his own father, a German soldier whom he always believed was killed in the war. Peter's quest leads him into a love story of his own, and as he begins to unravel the mystery of his father's disappearance, he is forced to question his own identity. He learns that reality is sometimes a reflection of the expectations of others, and that truth and fiction often intertwine.
very readable... The Odyssey is the motif for the novel, a motif Schlink plays with enormous virutosity... Schlink has put together a clever package and skilfully guides the reader through modern German history. (TIBOR FISCHER SUNDAY TELEGRAPH)
an engaging writer... a brave, if flawed, attempt at confronting Germany's stained past and uncertain identity. ( DAILY TELEGRAPH)
Homecoming is the long-awaited follow-up to Bernhard Schlink's massively successful novel, The Reader. Like his previous work, it is concerned with the way in which modern Germans make sense of their country's turbulent past, and suggests how understanding that past can be recovered through the study of commonly overlooked texts and documents. ( FINANCIAL TIMES)
a many-layered tale that draws on The Odyssey for its framework... a fine but elusive novel. (JOANNA BRISCOE THE GUARDIAN)
it is precisely with his nuanced portraits of minor characters, effectively rendered in Michael Henry Heim's solid English translation, that Schlink truly succeeds. ( TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT)
Schlink is an accomplished and intelligent writer whose literary prose reads as well as well as the crime thrillers of which he is an acknowledged master. ( EVENING STANDARD)
There are striking similarities between this new offering by Bernhard Schlink and his international breakthrough novel, The Reader... another quietly engrossing and ambitious tale... intellectually challenging, but pacily written.... I know of no other writer who engages with the struggle between the individual and the political world as deftly - and poetically - as Bernhard Schlink. ( THE HERALD)
its strength rests in its ability to provoke... questions. (ALLAN MASSIE THE SCOTSMAN)
Once again, Schlink has written a novel of great density and power ( LITERARY REVIEW)
Anyone with an ear for fiction and an eye for evil should read it. ( PROSPECT)
elegant translation faultlessly conveys the spell of Schlink's art, in both its severe and its gentle climaxes. ( INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE)
a superbly written book that never allows itself to sink under the weight of its own big ideas... an invigorating read. ( METRO)
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