Author of the bestselling 'The Reader', Bernhard Schlink's latest fictional offering is a collection of seven skilfully composed stories about love, about lies and about the games people play.
In the first story: 'After the Season' we meet Richard, a flautist with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, who is on holiday at an expensive resort, which is only affordable for him because he visits it off-season. There he meets Susan, whom he assumes is in a similar financial position, and the two fall quickly in love and plan to spend their future together. However, when Richard discovers that Susan is financially independent and has a life-style that is miles away from his gritty, down-to-earth existence in his rented Manhattan apartment, he wonders whether they are really suited. Can love conquer all - or is Richard better suited to his financially poor but spiritually rich Manhattan life? And if so, is he brave enough to be honest about it?
In 'The Night in Baden-Baden' an emotionally immature man continually lies to his girlfriend - not because he wants to lie (as he tells himself) but because he needs to protect both his girlfriend and himself from difficult, emotional confrontations. When he hides a significant truth beneath yet another seemingly palatable lie, he risks losing what is really important to him. The most intriguing and enjoyable story of the collection is 'Stranger in the Night' where our protagonist listens to a rather fantastic story, regaled to him by the man in the seat next to him on a plane, about his girlfriend's kidnapping in Kuwait. As the stranger continues with his colourful tale, the plane hits some turbulence, which only serves to disorientate our main character further as he is amazed by the man's wild and hardly credible story. But why is the stranger revealing his personal experiences and what does he want from our protagonist?
Interesting and stimulating, tender yet unsentimental, 'Summer Lies' is an intriguing collection of tales where the author's compelling and beautifully written narratives about love, coping with love, and the lies we tell to ourselves and to others, makes for entertaining reading.