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Growing up with his mother in Germany, Peter Debauer knows little about his father, an apparent victim of the Second World War. But when he stumbles upon a few pages from a long-lost novel, Peter embarks on a quest that leads him across Europe to the United States, chasing fragments of a story within a story and a master of disguises who may or may not exist. Homecoming is a tale of fathers and sons, men and women, war and peace. It reveals the humanity that survives the trauma of war and the ongoing possibility for redemption.
John Griffin says:
“Bernard Schlink’s newest novel, Homecoming, first appeared in English in 2008. It is his latest work in which the protagonist tries to come to grips with his family’s past and with the extent of the family’s involvement in Germany’s National Socialist (or Nazi) past. Many listeners of WKMS may already be familiar with Schlink’s breakthrough novel, The Reader, which was made into a well-received motion picture. In both novels, the young protagonist has to adjust his strong feelings of attraction to older people, whether family members or close acquaintances, with his great repulsion to the ugly truths of their former lives. And of course this discovery also involves determining his own identity. In Homecoming, as with his other writings, Schlink is expecting his German readers to confront the question of their own identity and to ponder what it means to be a German in the 21st century while still be tied to history of the 20th century. And of course, it is likewise important for American readers to have an understanding of why other cultures behave as they do, to keep us from constantly assuming that since they seem so similar in so many respects, they must really be same. ”