From Bernhard Schlink, the internationally best-selling author ofThe Reader,come seven provocative and masterfully calibrated stories. A keen dissection of the ways in which we play with truth and less-than-truth in our lives.Summer Liesbrims with the delusions, the passions, the outbursts, and the sometimes irrational justifications people make within a m?lange of beautifully rendered relationships. In After the Season, a man falls quickly in love with a woman he meets on the beach but wrestles with his incongruous feelings of betrayal after he learns she's rich. In Johann Sebastian Bach on Ruegen, a son tries to put his resentment toward his emotionally distant father behind him by proposing a trip to a Back festival but soon realizes, during his efforts to reconnect, that it wasn't his father who was the distant one. A philandering playwright is accused to infidelity by his wife in The Night in Baden-Baden, but he sees her accusations as nothing more than a means to exculpate himself of his guilt as he carries on with his ways.
Most of the seven short stories in Schlink's eloquent and profound second collection are thematically bound by the protagonists' titular distortions. "The day she stopped loving her children was no different from other days," opens "The Journey to the South," which finds Nina, an elderly divorced woman, traveling to look up her old lover, Adalbert Paulsen, who confronts her about the lies behind their breakup years ago. In "The Last Summer," retired professor Thomas Wellmer assembles his family, his "components of happiness," one last time before a planned suicide due to the increasing pain of terminal cancer. His wife discovers the lethal cocktail bottle, and he's forced to reveal his plan to the whole family-with surprising results. In the somewhat lighter "The Night in Baden-Baden," a playwright is falsely accused by his longtime girlfriend of having an affair. Bereft after this shocking, and violent, accusation, the playwright has a tryst with a waitress, fulfilling his girlfriend's fears, in what may be the gem in a generally top-notch collection from Schlink (The Reader). (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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August 14, 2012
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