Homecoming - Bernhard Schlink

Having read, The Reader and having listened to Bernhard Schlink talk about issues surrounding World War 2 and future generations of Germans having to deal with these atrocities, I would have to say that I am a fan. He is a very wise man who raises so many interesting questions about the aftermath of the war and how this continues to resonate even now, in future generations of Germans and Jews,. Questions of how the past actions of others impact the lives and relationships of young Germans today.

Homecoming, however, is a little different. This is a story about.. well.. homecoming. Finding your place in the world, where you come from and working out where you belong.
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 and Peter 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 mysterious search for his own father, a German soldier whom he always believed was killed in the war.
I enjoyed this book but I admit I found the main character, Peter, little tedious at times. He was a whiny, poor me kinda guy and I just didn’t feel sorry for him, if that was what Schlink was trying to do… I just wanted to tell him to snap out of it and get on with his life like everyone else does.

Besides that, I liked how this story flicked back and forth between Peter’s life and the story he found on the old manuscripts. Although this story is never told in full (as Peter does not have them all) it was still interesting enough to keep me reading. I was a bit disappointed with the ending, I can see why it ended the way it did, but I was expecting something more… something explosive and confrontational, but I did not get it. That said, I do like Bernhard Schlink’s writing and will continue to buy his books, even if he didn’t give this one the ending I had hoped for!

If you liked The Reader you will surely like this book.

Rating 3/5


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