The Reader (Der Vorleser) is a novel by German law professor and judge, Bernhard Schlink, first published in Germany in 1995 and in the United States in 1997.
I do not remember exactly when I first read this book, but it’s been a few years. I like to rediscover great works after a certain time, they find me in a different moment of my life in which, sometimes, I find different flavours, and other times, I find some which haven’t changed at all. Among those first, you will find this particular page; Lines that did not mean too much for me at that time and yet I empathise with now:
I did go to the presiding judge after all. I couldn’t make myself visit Hanna. But neither could I endure doing nothing. Why didn’t I manage to speak to Hanna? She had left me, deceived me, was not the person I had taken her for or imagined her to be. And who had I been for her? The little reader she used, the little bedmate with whom she’d had her fun? Would she have sent me to the gas chamber if she hadn’t been able to leave me, but wanted to get rid of me? Why did I find it unendurable to do nothing? I told myself I had to prevent a miscarriage of justice. I had to make sure justice was done, despite Hanna’s lifelong lie, justice both for and against Hanna, so to speak. But I wasn’t really concerned with justice. I couldn’t leave Hanna the way she was, or wanted to be. I had to meddle with her, have some kind of influence and effect on her, if not directly then indirectly.
I invite you to test this too, find a book that you’ve read a long time ago and give it a second read. Who knows, maybe you could be surprised too!