Homecoming: Book summary and reviews of Homecoming by Bernhard Schlink

Homecoming

A Novel

By Bernhard Schlink

Homecoming

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Book Summary

A child of World War II, Peter Debauer grew up with his mother and scant memories of his father, a victim of war. Now an adult, Peter embarks upon a search for the truth surrounding his mother's unwavering--but shaky--history and the possibility of finding his missing father after all these years. The search takes him across Europe, to the United States, and back: finding witnesses, falling in and out of love, chasing fragments of a story and a person who may or may not exist. Within a maze of reinvented identities, Peter pieces together a portrait of a man who uses words as one might use a change of clothing, as he assumes a new guise in any given situation simply to stay alive.

The chase leads Peter to New York City, where he hopes to find the real person behind the disguises. Operating under an assumed identity of his own, Peter unravels the secrets surrounding Columbia University's celebrated political science professor and best-selling author John de Baur, who is known for his incendiary philosophy and the charismatic rapport he has with his students. Terrifying mind games challenge Peter's ability to bring to light the truth surrounding his family history while still holding on to the love of a woman who promises a new life, free of lies and deceit.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. As in his previous works, Schlink's protagonist is a flawed character who elicits the reader's understanding but not affection - until the poignant denouement." - Publishers Weekly.

"Schlink's story is a mishmash of improbable coincidences and clunky schemata. His prose is merely serviceable at best, and occasionally founders in cliche. Pedestrian dialogue mirrors the characters' utter lack of distinctiveness." - San Francisco Chronicle.

"Neatly tucked into the present, the slow unfolding of Peter's past is intriguing, and the novel climaxes with some frighteningly intense scenes. The one surprise is that the language can sometimes sound routine, even clichéd, which may be the translation. Nevertheless, this is definitely recommended for all libraries." - Library Journal.

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Author Information

Bernhard Schlink Author Biography

Bernhard Schlink was born July 6, 1944 in Bethel, Germany, the youngest of four children. He studied law at West Berlin’s Free University, graduating in 1968. He served as a judge at the Constitutional Court of the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia beginning in 1988, and became a professor for public law and the philosophy of law at Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany in 1992, a position he held until his retirement in 2006.

Schlink began his career as a writer with several detective novels, one of which one the Glauser Prize in 1989. The Reader was published in 1995 and became a bestseller in both Germany and the United States. It was the first German book to reach the number one position in the New York Times bestseller list. In 1997 it won the Hans Fallada Prize, an ...

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