Bernhard Schlink's 'The Weekend': A terrorist comes home
Book review: Bernhard Schlink's slim novel "The Weekend" tells the story of what happens when a German terrorist is released from prison after serving 24 years for murder.
The Associated Press
by Bernhard Schlink, translated by Shaun Whiteside
Pantheon, 224 pp., $24.95
It won't even take you as long as the title to read this slim piece of fiction. Long popular in his native Germany, Bernhard Schlink made a name for himself in the U.S. in 1997, when his novel "The Reader" became the first German book to reach No. 1 on The New York Times best-seller list. Kate Winslet won a 2008 best-actress Oscar for the film adaptation.
It's easy to imagine "The Weekend" at a theater near you also. Daniel Craig would be a good choice for Jorg, a German terrorist who is released from prison after serving 24 years for murder. His sister, Christiane, has invited a few of his old friends to her country home to help facilitate her brother's return to society.
The plot unfolds in real time, with three sections called "Friday," "Saturday" and "Sunday." The relationship between each guest and Jorg is slowly revealed, as are Jorg's crimes. There's a fair bit of subtext that readers who aren't familiar with the concept of collective guilt will gloss over. But Schlink never sacrifices the plot for a morality lesson. He introduces just enough characters to keep the story moving and the reader guessing.
We spend a little time inside each guest's head, learning how they feel about Jorg. Credit must be given to the English translator, Shaun Whiteside, who distills the often-difficult German into relatively simple sentences that add to the pace of Schlink's plot.
"The Weekend" is worth the brief time it will take you to read it, even if years from now you can watch it unfold on the big screen.
When vice president of Sub Pop Records Megan Jasper isn't running things at the office, she's working in her garden at her West Seattle home where she and her husband Brian spend time relaxing.