9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
'almost a parable',
This review is from: The Weekend (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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Initial post: 18 Feb 2011 14:32:45 GMT
Mary McCarthy says:
Whenever writers use the reunion or dinner party scenario, you know there's going to be an explosive, climactic revelation. Of course that occurs in The Weekend but it was like a firecracker that fizzled instead of exploded. It was hard to believe that Jorg was a charismatic revoluntionary leader, since he came across as such a weak character. Perhaps this portrayal was to illustrate how prison had worn down his spirit. I didn't warm to any of the characters. I bought The Weekend on the strength of The Reader, which I though was a compelling story and was beautifully written, especially allowing for it having been a translation. All in all, I was disappointed with The Weekend.
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