Saturday, March 06, 2010

more books

I’ve just finished reading Paul Auster’s “Travels in the Scriptorium” and “The Reader” by Bernhard Schlink. It was interesting reading them one after the other as they felt oddly linked. I was captivated by Auster’s book (one review I’ve subsequently read talks about the “spell the novel casts over the reader” and I think this is pretty close to the mark). It features a man in a room on his own with a desk and a manuscript. Schlink’s book concludes with a prisoner on her own in her cell surrounded by cassettes of book readings. The illiterate prisoner learns to read and was once a prison guard; the man is perhaps also serving a sentence of some kind – with the characters who enter the room each being described as “former operatives” once controlled by the man.
I thought the film of “The Reader” was absolutely brilliant and the novel is probably one of the most impressive books I’ve ever read – a love story which subsequently becomes an enquiry into the effects of the Holocaust. Sensitive, uplifting and ultimately strangely hopeful.
Think I’d like to read some more Paul Auster (although he’s probably far too clever for me!).
Photo: image from “The Reader” film, bookcovers and Paul Auster.

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