Saturday, July 9, 2011

2/365 The Reader


Whoo.  Didn't I just say yesterday that I wanted either cheap thrills or Deep Thoughts on guilt? Well, wham-o! Deep thoughts on guilt.
I liked this book.  I probably didn't get it, or failed to discern the deep metaphor, but whatever. The reviewers were right - it does force you to wrestle with moral puzzles.  It's very complex, and there wasn't an answer, and I liked that about it.  Lately I've been going for books that acknowledge that nothing can ever be completely answered - love can't completely save you, that sort of thing.  It sounds terribly dismal, but I find absolute fairy tales - they get together and now everything is perfect! - more depressing.  So many people I talk to have come to believe that the fantasies we see on TV and in chick lit can happen in real life.  And then when they don't feel "in love" anymore, they think they've done something wrong or married the wrong person, and that a new person or job or town will finally make them complete.

Ah.  Sorry. Didn't mean to go on a huge tangent/rant there.  I'm rather wary of semi-supposed to be real love stories.  I'd rather have absolute truth or total fantasy right now.  It's a funny mood. 

So, I liked this book.  There were so many bits that I wanted to make copies of our type out and save for myself somewhere.  Really interesting stuff.  Looking back on happy times, how memories work, and, obviously, guilt.  I know it's not quite the same, but I sort of related to the whole guilt of the second generation thing when I thought about the civil war.  Much less immediate and, in a way, less my fault - but when I hear kids bashing the south, saying how terrible all the slave owners were, how they wouldn't have stood for it, I just wonder.  It's very easy to condemn people after the fact, but I feel like you can never know what you would have done.  As I said, not the same thing, but at least I did some semi-serious thinking for a change, what?  
 Granted, I will never be comfortable with s-e-x in books, but this was the first I've read that seemed... I don't know.  The story wouldn't have worked if the main character hadn't gotten involved with Hanna.  I can understand why the author put it all in.   I thought it was interesting, how badly it messed the main character up.  It seemed a much more real reaction - not cheap, like a lot of books I've read.  Do you get what I'm driving at?  I often think writers don't make affairs like this as devastating to characters as they would be in real life, I guess.  This was one of the first (if not the first) book I've read where (and this is going to sound ridiculous!) there was enough pain. There's a lot of very preachy "and it messed him up because..." stuff I could put in here, but I'll spare my imaginary readers. 


CONCLUSION: Very good.  I'd like to read more of his stuff.  I feel a little boost of confidence - I can read things besides Agatha Christie! Also, this book has piqued my interest in similar sorts of books.  I would like to read more Vergangenheitsbew√§ltigung novels.  Mostly for the pleasure of reading that marvelous looking word.  I do hope I used it in my sentence properly. 

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