Tuesday, 11 June 2013

"Summer Lies" by Bernhard Schlink ...

Having realised the collection of short stories I was holding in my hand, whilst searching for new books which had been published recently, was from the author of "The reader" Bernhard Schlinck led me to buy it without even thinking twice.

This series of very different stories - "Summer lies", whose title alone had already arisen my curiosity, seemed to pave the way to justifications, some of which apparently "irrational" people take within their relationships, whether at an intimate level or not, in the name of convictions, fears, "half truths" and similar reactions, ultimately leading to the "unexpected" subtle surfacing of the truth and subsequent deception.

Each of these stories capturing a fleeting emotion in the form of delusion, outburst and passion allowed me as a reader to put myself in the shoes of the intervening characters and wonder how I would hypothetically react under similar circumstances, as well as "position myself" in the various perspectives.

Some of the stories impacted me more than others (particularly the last one,  "The journey to the South") but they all left their imprint on me ...

"The hard thing in life is to hold fast to one's principles and when it is acceptable to bend them a little this way or that." - in "Summer lies"

"Does all happiness yearn to be eternal? Like all desire? No, he thought, what it yearns for is continuity. It yearns to endure in the future, having already been happiness in the past."  - in "The night in Baden-Baden"

"What had I done? Why had I got involved with him? Allowed myself to be used by him? Just because he had a quiet, gentle smile, a pleasant manner, and a soft cut, softly creased suit? What was the matter with me? Where did I leave my rational self that makes me an alert observer and a clear thinker (...)? Normally, I am a good judge of people." - in "Stranger in the night"

"He was happy - or did he just want to be happy because everything was going well? Because all the components of happiness were there. He had sometimes wondered if life were not elsewhere and then pushed the question away." In "The last Summer"

"Wordless intimacy had been too much to hope for. Nor could he hope for loquacious intimacy. But he wanted to reach him. After his death he wanted to have more of him than a photograph on the desk and memories he could have done without." in "Johann Sebastian Bach on Ruegen"

A book which will not leave you indifferent ... and will certainly prompt a few questions in your mind ...

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