Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Reader by Bernhard Schlink

"At the same time I ask myself, as I had already begun to ask myself back then: What should our second generation have done...We should not believe we can comprehend the incomprehensible, we may not inquire because to inquire is to make the horrors an object of discussion, even if the horrors themselves are not questioned, instead of accepting them as something in the face of which we can only fall silent in revulsion, shame, and guilt."

"I looked at Hanna's handwriting and saw how much energy and struggle the writing had cost her.  I was proud of her.  At the same time, I was sorry for her, sorry for her delayed and failed life, sorry for the delays and failures of life in general."

"In the first few years after Hanna's death.  I was tormented by the old questions of whether I had denied and betrayed her, whether I was guilty for having loved her.  Sometimes I asked myself if I was responsible for her death.  And sometimes I was in a rage at her and at what she had done to me.  Until finally the rage faded and the questions ceased to matter.  Whatever I had done or not done, whatever she had done or not to me-it was the path my life had taken."

"What would you have done?"

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