Monday, February 23, 2009

Follow-up on The Reader

SANDY: Sven will be back with another blog very soon! In the meantime, I wanted to follow up on a recent blog we wrote. Last night Kate Winslet won the Oscar for her role in The Reader. I read The Reader this past week and was interested to see how closely the movie adaptation followed the book. The only thing I did not get in the movie was the idea that the older Hanna neglected hygiene and smelled, one of the reasons Michael was reluctant to take her back into his life after her release from prison, despite the fact that she had been the only love interest in his life other than his daughter. The book contained more philosophical digressions about how the younger generation of Germans dealt with the involvement or lack of involvement of parents with Nazis during the war. In January, I asked a young German lawyer friend his impressions of The Reader and asked why Hanna called Michael "kid" in English. Here's his response:

“I haven't seen The Reader so far, it will come out in Germany only in two weeks. But I did read the book, pretty recently actually. I liked it a lot, you should read it, it is certainly better than any movie (even though I am curious to watch it). In the German version, the woman calls the boy "Buebchen", which is an old fashioned way to say "little boy". It is indeed a very strange way to call him, weird, but that certainly characterizes their relationship somehow, between an adult and a teenager. He admires her, I guess, and she shows him certain things, love e.g. At the same time, she is so un-sophisticated, a kid in many ways too, and he shows her the world of books and culture... The book is written by a law professor from Berlin, who still teaches at the Berlin law school. Funny, isn't it? His books were very successful all over Europe.”

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