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Homecoming

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Homecoming Cover

ISBN13: 9780375420917
ISBN10: 0375420916
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The first novel by Bernhard Schlink since his international best seller The Reader, Homecoming is the story of one man's odyssey and another man's pursuit.

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.

Homecoming is a story 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.

Review:

"Schlink's first novel, The Reader (1997), became a U.S. bestseller after it was an Oprah pick. That book, and his next, a short story collection, raised moral questions about Germany right after WWII; his latest, following two crime novels, takes up that line of inquiry and may be his most powerful and disquieting. The title refers to a pulp novel discovered in fragments by the narrator, Peter Debauer, and to Debauer's quest to find the book's pseudonymous author, who seems to have an uncanny knowledge of the conditions and landmarks of Debauer's own youth in postwar Germany. This mysterious work, with similarities to The Odyssey, offers tantalizing clues to a deeper mystery, that of the identity of Debauer's father, reported dead after the war. Debauer's youth, failed career and love life play out against authoritatively detailed scenes of Nazi degeneracy, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the stark differences between East and West Germany. 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 (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"[T]he language can sometimes sound routine, even clichéd, which may be the translation. Nevertheless, this is definitely recommended." Library Journal

About the Author

Bernhard Schlink was born in Germany. He is the author of the internationally nest-selling novel The Reader, which was an Oprah's Book Club selection. He lives in Berlin and New York.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Grady Harp, January 21, 2008 (view all comments by Grady Harp)
'We make our own truths and lies....Truths are often lies and lies truths...'

Bernhard Schlink stunned the reading public with his brilliant novel 1999 THE READER and once again with HOMECOMING he proves he is one of our most important authors today. Written in German and translated by Michael Henry Heim, HOMECOMING addresses, as did THE READER, the prolonged impact of the WW II fall of Germany on the lives of those who survived it. Not only is this a gripping story of a deserted son's search for his mysterious father, it is also a treatise reflecting on the horrors of evil and challenges the responsibility of those who perpetrated it and those who 'allowed' or were victims of its perpetration. There is much profound philosophy in these pages, enough to make the reader stop, think, turn to other resources for references, and become transported by the mind of a truly gifted writer.

Peter DeBauer was raised by his distant mother who refused to inform him about his father, a mysterious man who apparently wrote novels edited and published by is own parents (Peter's paternal grandparents with whom he has an intense bond) yet 'disappeared' form his life to become involved in surviving the war by moving to Switzerland and eventually to America where he became established as a political science professor at Columbia University where, as John De Bauer, he became a highly regarded professor and mind manipulator. The story concerns Peter's quest for finding his father, a journey that places him in locations throughout Europe, seeking bits and fragments of information from anyone even slightly connected with the information he has about his father, finding solace and love from various women, and eventually results in his compulsive trip to New York to investigate the infamous John De Bauer, only to be caught up in a fascinating retreat in the frozen tundra of Upstate New York, learning the truth about his shadowy father. 'Sometimes I feel a longing for the Odysseus who learned the tricks and lies of the confidence man..., set out restless in the world, sought adventure and came out on top, won over my mother with his charm, and made up novels with great gusto and theories with playful levity. But I know it is not Johann Debauer or John De Baur I long for; it is the image I have made of my father and hung in my heart.'

The magic of reading Schlink's books is the discovery of a mixture of brilliant story development with indelibly rich characters and the sharing of philosophizing about death, murder, suicide, guilt, and history's influence on who we will become. 'At what degree of cold, hunger, pressure, or fear does the layer of civilization start to peel away?' Yes, other writers are dealing with the scars left on the German mind living in the aftermath of the atrocities of national guilt. But few do it so eloquently and with such brilliant skill as Bernhard Schlink. At novel's end, the reader is consumed with the desire to start the book all over again. Highly recommended. Grady Harp
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780375420917
Subtitle:
A novel
Author:
Schlink, Bernhard
Translator:
Heim, Michael Henry
Publisher:
Pantheon
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Soldiers
Subject:
Germany
Subject:
Soldiers -- Germany.
Subject:
Children of disappeared persons
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20080108
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
272
Dimensions:
8.58x5.84x1.07 in. .90 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Homecoming Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$4.95 In Stock
Product details 272 pages Pantheon Books - English 9780375420917 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Schlink's first novel, The Reader (1997), became a U.S. bestseller after it was an Oprah pick. That book, and his next, a short story collection, raised moral questions about Germany right after WWII; his latest, following two crime novels, takes up that line of inquiry and may be his most powerful and disquieting. The title refers to a pulp novel discovered in fragments by the narrator, Peter Debauer, and to Debauer's quest to find the book's pseudonymous author, who seems to have an uncanny knowledge of the conditions and landmarks of Debauer's own youth in postwar Germany. This mysterious work, with similarities to The Odyssey, offers tantalizing clues to a deeper mystery, that of the identity of Debauer's father, reported dead after the war. Debauer's youth, failed career and love life play out against authoritatively detailed scenes of Nazi degeneracy, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the stark differences between East and West Germany. 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 (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "[T]he language can sometimes sound routine, even clichéd, which may be the translation. Nevertheless, this is definitely recommended."
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