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Bernhard Schlink brings to these seven superbly crafted stories the same sleek concision and moral acuity that made The Reader an international bestseller. His characters-men with importunate appetites and unfortunate habits of deception-are uneasily suspended between the desire for love and the impulse toward flight. A young boy's fascination with an eerily erotic painting gradually leads him into the labyrinth of his family's secrets. The friendship between a West Berliner and an idealistic young couple from the East founders amid the prosperity and revelations that follow the collapse of communism. An acrobatic philanderer (one wife and two mistresses, all apparently quite happy) begins to crack under the weight of his abundance. By turns brooding and comic, and filled with the suspense that comes from the inexorable unfolding of character, Flights of Love is nothing less than masterful. From the Trade Paperback edition.
A classic noir thriller about love and deception from the bestselling author ofThe Reader. Georg Polger ekes out a lonely living as a freelance translator in the south of France, until he is approached by a certain Mr. Bulnakov, who has a intriguing proposition: Georg is to take over a local translation agency and finish a project left by the previous owner, who died in a mysterious accident. The money is right and then there is the matter of Bulnakov's secretary, Francoise, with whom Georg has fallen hopelessly in love. Late one night, however, Georg discovers Francoise secretly photographing a sensitive military project. He is shocked and heartbroken. Then, her eventual disappearance leaves him not only bereft, but suspicious of the motivations behind Mr. Bulnakov's offer. To make matters worse, Georg's every move is being watched. Determined to find out who Francoise really is, and to foil who ever is tracking him, Georg sets out on an mission that will take him to New York City, where with each step he is dragged deeper and deeper into a deadly whirlpool in which friend and foe are indistinguishable.
As a child Peter Debauer becomes fascinated by a story he discovers in a volume of fiction edited by his Swiss grandparents. He initially reads only part of the tale, which has been torn from the bound proofs, the blank back pages of which he uses for his homework. He becomes obsessed with this tale of a soldier who comes home to find what? Debauer doesn't discover until years later, when he finds the missing pages of the story and manages to extrapolate the locale and put the clues together that he has gathered over the intervening years. The crux of the narrative is mystery - and the attempt to unveil identity, both of others and of oneself, and it is told through Peter's search not only for the ending of the this pulp-fiction homecoming story, but also for his search for its author, as he believes the story to be more truth than fiction. Peter knows very little about his father, but amongst all his reading as a child and latterly, as an editor himself, he is sent, for possible German translation and publication, a text written by a man, an esteemed American academic, who must be his father, but who writes and lives his life under an alias. Peter's mother has led him, and his grandparents, to believe Peter's father was dead, but why? To a large degree The Homecoming picks up, thematically, where The Reader left off, and Schlink's preoccupation with return, foreshadowed in his earlier protagonist's references to the Odyssey, is grounded here. Intertwined with this is the narrator's (read Odysseus) own story of discovery and loss; his quest is for his father, and his own identity. The novel is divided into two sections, with parts 1 to 4 forming the search for and discovery of who his father is, and part 5 their meeting, although 'closure' is not really an option, and Debauer never reveals his identity to his father.
The Reader is both a literary surprise and a moral challenge: a riveting, provocative, and deeply moving novel about a young boy's passionate, clandestine love affair with an older woman, and what happens to them both when the secrets in her past are revealed. Years later as a law student in Germany, Michael is shocked to realize that the person in the dock is Hanna -- who is not only obliged to answer for a horrible crime, but is also desperately concealing an even deeper secret.
Gerhard Self, the dour private detective, returns in this riveting crime novel about terrorism, governmental cover-up, and the treacherous waters where they mix. Leo Salger, the daughter of a powerful Bonn bureaucrat, is missing, and Self has been hired to find her. His investigation initially leads him to a psych ward at a local hospital, where he is made to believe that Leo fell from a window and died. Self soon discovers, however, that Leo is alive and well and that she was involved in a terrorist incident the government is feverishly trying to keep under wraps. The result is a wildly entertaining, superbly nuanced thriller that follows one detective's desire to uncover the truth, wherever it may lead. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Gerhard Self, the Sweet-Afton-smoking, sambuca-swilling, most unlikely of PIs is back in a new tale of deception and intrigue, set against the backdrop of post-reunification Germany. After a chance encounter with the owner of a prestigious private bank, the now septuagenarian detective is enlisted to delve into the institution's history, apparently in the name of a book to commemorate the bank's foundation. But his seemingly anodyne brief - to discover the identity of a sleeping partner from several decades before - throws up far more questions than answers. As it becomes clear that the sleeping partner is in no way the most mysterious aspect of the bank's history, Self begins to suspect his mission may have been but a ruse to lure him into the shady world of the bank's enigmatic masters - a certain Herr Welker and his steely Russian foster brother Samarin. Trying in vain to extricate himself and his increasingly shaky heart from the web of deceit - and to work out who really is the baddie of the piece - Self is thrown headlong into a tale of money-laundering, murder and mafiosi. But who is blackmailing whom? Did Welker's wife really die in a tragic accident? And why is a washed-up old Stasi man pretending to be Self's long-lost son? Join Gerhard, the irascible armchair philosopher, on his most dangerous and far-reaching mission to date.
Sixty-eight years old; a smoker of Sweet Aftons, a dedicated drinker of Aviateur cocktails, and the owner of a charismatic cat named Turbo, Gerhard Self is a somewhat unconventional private detective. During the war he was a Nazi state prosecutor, and he is still haunted by the memories of his misguided youth. His usual cases involve insurance investigations - such as the case of the ballet dancer who may or may not have deliberately broken his leg in order to claim compensation - and he shares them over games of Doppelkopf with his friends: a chessmaster, an ornithologist and a surgeon. So when Self is summoned by his long-time friend and rival Korten to investigate several incidents of computer-hacking at a chemicals company, he finds himself dealing with an unfamiliar kind of crime, and one that throws up many challenges for the computer-illiterate detective. But in his search for the hacker and his attempts to prevent a hazardous chemical leak, Self stumbles upon something far more sinister. His investigation eventually unearths dark secrets that have been hidden for decades, and forces Self to confront his own demons of guilt, responsibility and loyalty.
From Bernhard Schlink, the internationally best-selling author of The Reader, come seven provocative and masterfully calibrated stories. A keen dissection of the ways in which we play with truth and less-than-truth in our lives. Summer Lies brims with the delusions, the passions, the outbursts, and the sometimes irrational justifications people make within a mélange of beautifully rendered relationships. In "After the Season," a man falls quickly in love with a woman he meets on the beach but wrestles with his incongruous feelings of betrayal after he learns she's rich. In "Johann Sebastian Bach on Ruegen," a son tries to put his resentment toward his emotionally distant father behind him by proposing a trip to a Back festival but soon realizes, during his efforts to reconnect, that it wasn't his father who was the distant one. A philandering playwright is accused to infidelity by his wife in "The Night in Baden-Baden," but he sees her accusations as nothing more than a means to exculpate himself of his guilt as he carries on with his ways. And in "Stranger in the Night," an obliging professor becomes an accomplice--not entirely unwittingly--to the temporary escape of a charismatic fugitive on a delayed flight from New York to Frankfurt. The truth, as once character puts it, is "passionate, beautiful sometimes, and sometimes hideous, it can make you happy and it can torture you, and it always sets you free." Tantalizingly, so is the act of telling a lie--to others and to ourselves.
This selection of the major works of constitutional theory during the Weimar period reflects the reactions of legal scholars to a state in permanent crisis, a society in which all bets were off.
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