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The Weekend Paperback – 13 Oct 2011

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: W&N (13 Oct. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753828480
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753828489
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.8 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 464,661 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Bernhard Schlink was born in Germany in 1944. A professor of law at the University of Berlin and a practising judge, he is the author of the major international best-selling novel The Reader as well as several prize-winning crime novels. He lives in Bonn and Berlin.

Product Description

Review

an enthralling exposition of personal and national histories and the relationships between the two (METRO)

A masterly examination of the nature of evil. (SUNDAY TELEGRAPH)

A haunting, riveting tale of people trapped by their past. (Good Book Guide (March))

Book Description

The author of international phenomenon THE READER returns with a tale of old jealousies, explosive politics and uncertain futures. Meet the Baader-Meinhof Group, 25 years on...

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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Antenna TOP 500 REVIEWER on 10 May 2012
Format: Paperback
Christiane collects her brother Jorg from gaol where he has served more than twenty years for Baader-Meinhof-style terrorism in Germany. She takes him straight to a week-end in a rundown country mansion with an assortment of old friends. This seems such a bad idea as to be highly implausible, but it is of course a device to enable the author, a lawyer by profession, to explore all the moral arguments associated with terrorism designed to overthrow a corrupt capitalist system and related questions of guilt, how our views and the situations themselves change over time.

In what I found the most interesting chapters (35 and 36), group members discuss to what extent "the truth makes you free" or rather that "freedom makes things true" which means "there are as many truths as people freely living their lives" - but also the "life lies" which people need to be able to keep on living. I wondered if the theme would have worked better as a play, but this would have made it harder to show the characters' thoughts.

Schlink introduces quite a large cast of characters, so that I understand why another reviewer felt the need to note them down: Ulrich, who abandoned his youthful radical leanings to become a respectable and law-abiding dentist, Henner who came from a similar privileged background and flirted with revolutionary ideas before taking up journalism, Karin the female bishop who conceals from her husband the fact that she had an abortion in her "wild" youth and rather enjoys playing the part of a respected member of the community, and so on.

Although I found the ideas and plot potentially very interesting, I nearly gave up on the book at several points because of the clumsy style of writing which may have been due to the translation.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By John P. Jones III TOP 500 REVIEWER on 11 Nov. 2011
Format: Paperback
For an American (of a certain age) it is difficult not to immediately think of the 1983 movie Big Chill [DVD] when reading the inside cover jacket description of this book. It is a weekend retreat, of people moving deep into middle age, who once knew each other in their 20's. More relevant still, and probably the inspiration for the Big Chill, was the 1980 movie, Return of the Secaucus 7 [DVD] [1980] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]. More relevant because the latter movie involves a reunion of political radicals from the `60's. In Schlink's "The Weekend," a group of Germans, who were once radicals affiliated with the Baader-Meinhof terrorist gang, of the RAF (Red Army Faction), have a rural reunion in a ramshackle house on a wooded estate when Jorg, one of their former "comrades" is pardoned, and released from jail after more than two decades in prison.

A Danish friend introduced me to Schlink's works some 15 years ago, and I've read both The Reader and Flights of Love and consider them superlative and insightful works. Thus I was favorably disposed to this latest work, and was not disappointed. The true strength of this relatively short novel is the author's selection of characters, and his deft portrayal of their interactions and concerns.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By MilliVolt on 17 Dec. 2010
Format: Hardcover
I ploughed through this book in the hope that it would engage my interest - but that happened only fitfully. This is particularly disappointing because I think 'The Reader' a work of genius and utterly absorbing.

Perhaps the problem is that there are too many characters, the point of view rotates among them, and, combined, these things make it hard to develop real empathy. The other novels of Schlink's that I have read have all been first-person narratives, and much more engaging. There's also the subject matter: German terrorism from decades ago has never been in the forefront of our minds over here, so I found it hard to shake off a 'so what?' feeling.

When, with relief, I finally closed the book, I found I had the impression that it was somehow German-American. I think this is due to the translator, who has used more American spellings and turns of phrase than appear in 'The Reader' or 'Flights of Love', and who is sometimes culturally insensitive - for example using 'RAF' to mean Red-Army Faction (I suppose), but without ever spelling it out. Bizarrely, I have read French translations of 'Brouillard sur Mannheim' and 'Le retour' and come away from them with a stronger impression of having 'visited' Germany.

Disappointing - but I'll still take a squint at his next novel: it might easily be much better.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Paul Grainger on 23 Oct. 2010
Format: Hardcover
In Bernhard Schlink's latest novel the action (if it can be called that) takes place in a country house somewhere in the eastern part of reunified Germany. Christiane, a middle aged would-be novelist, has organized a sort of welcome home party for her brother Jorg, recently released after 24 years in prison.

She has gathered together a number of friends from their student days, when they all flirted with the ideals of the Baader-Meinhof group, a notorious terrorist organization. Jorg, however, had not merely `flirted', he'd participated in various atrocities, including murder, and was caught, tried and convicted.

What Christiane hoped would be a happy reunion turns out to be quite the opposite. Well-meaning as Jorg's friends may be, to be reminded of his violent past leads to recriminations, arguments and fractious conversations. All of those present seemingly sharing a collective guilt for the acts perpetrated by Jorg but unwilling to face up to it.

The problem I had with `The Weekend' was that it was too much of a mirror image, plot- and theme-wise,of Schlink's highly-acclaimed novel `The Reader' but with one glaring difference (or omission). Whereas the focus in the latter was on the relationship between the two main protagonists - the young man and the female former SS camp guard - this novel doesn't really connect the characters with each other: they had each gone their respective ways and their reunion only served to underline the estrangement they felt: not only from themselves but inevitably from Jorg.

I cannot say I didn't like it, but I was left with the impression that `The Weekend' was more a lecture in narrative form than a genuine story.
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