The Woman on the Stairs: Book summary and reviews of The Woman on the Stairs by Bernhard Schlink

The Woman on the Stairs

by Bernhard Schlink

The Woman on the Stairs by Bernhard Schlink X
The Woman on the Stairs by Bernhard Schlink
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  • Published in USA  Mar 2017
    240 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

in a museum far from home a man stumbles onto a painting of a woman for whom he once, long ago, risked everything and who then mysteriously disappeared from his life.

As a young lawyer, the nameless protagonist of The Woman on the Stairs became entangled in the affairs of three people mired in a complex and destructive relationship. An artist, the woman whose portrait he had painted, and her husband became a triangle that drew the lawyer deeper and deeper into their tangled web. Now, encountering the painting that triggered it all, the lawyer must reconcile his past and present selves; when he eventually locates the woman, he is forced to confront the truth of his love and the reality that his life has been irrevocably changed.

With The Woman on the Stairs, the internationally acclaimed author of The Reader delivers a powerful new novel about obsession, creativity, and love. Intricately crafted, poignant, and beguiling, this is Bernhard Schlink writing at his peak.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Exquisite ... Schlink offers a profoundly moving meditation on how one's life is affected by the choices one makes along the way." - Publishers Weekly

"Despite some touching scenes near the end, Schlink doesn't seem to have the creative wherewithal to bring his characters and themes fully to life." - Kirkus

"Schlink, best known for The Reader (1995), once again tells a mysterious, character-driven, and history-enriched story in which a man reckons with his past." - Booklist

"This poignant meditation on recrimination and regret explores the nature of unrequited love and the gift of redemption. Too often though, it's bogged down by stilted, inauthentic conversations that emphasize the self-absorption of all four main characters. Those familiar with Schlink's earlier book The Reader will find that this new novel lacks a similar heft." - Library Journal

"A daring, hugely emotional work of literature." - News (Germany)

"[Schlink] has succeeded in writing a veritable thriller, which subtly and expertly intertwines perceptions of art and contemporary political events." - Weser-Kurier (Germany)

"A gripping novel about what happens when life's plans fall apart."- Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung (Germany)

"Flawlessly simple prose. Bernhard Schlink is a master... His writing is understandable, transparent and intelligent. Seemingly effortless, he manages to create a variety of complex characters, tangled plots and moral dilemmas." - Die Welt (Germany)

"Bernhard Schlink's The Woman on the Stairs flows with great style between fiction and the politics of the day. The novel is gripping and intelligent, offset with a good portion of thoughtfulness." - Rhein-Main-Press (Germany)

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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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