Synopses & Reviews
From Bernhard Schlink, the internationally best-selling author of The Reader,
come seven provocative and masterfully calibrated stories. A keen dissection of the ways in which we play with truth and less-than-truth in our lives. Summer Lies
brims with the delusions, the passions, the outbursts, and the sometimes irrational justifications people make within a mélange of beautifully rendered relationships. In ”After the Season,” a man falls quickly in love with a woman he meets on the beach but wrestles with his incongruous feelings of betrayal after he learns she’s rich. In “Johann Sebastian Bach on Ruegen,” a son tries to put his resentment toward his emotionally distant father behind him by proposing a trip to a Back festival but soon realizes, during his efforts to reconnect, that it wasn’t his father who was the distant one. A philandering playwright is accused to infidelity by his wife in “The Night in Baden-Baden,” but he sees her accusations as nothing more than a means to exculpate himself of his guilt as he carries on with his ways. And in “Stranger in the Night,” an obliging professor becomes an accomplice—not entirely unwittingly—to the temporary escape of a charismatic fugitive on a delayed flight from New York to Frankfurt.
The truth, as once character puts it, is “passionate, beautiful sometimes, and sometimes hideous, it can make you happy and it can torture you, and it always sets you free.” Tantalizingly, so is the act of telling a lie—to others and to ourselves.
"Most of the seven short stories in Schlink's eloquent and profound second collection are thematically bound by the protagonists' titular distortions. 'The day she stopped loving her children was no different from other days,' opens 'The Journey to the South,' which finds Nina, an elderly divorced woman, traveling to look up her old lover, Adalbert Paulsen, who confronts her about the lies behind their breakup years ago. In 'The Last Summer,' retired professor Thomas Wellmer assembles his family, his 'components of happiness,' one last time before a planned suicide due to the increasing pain of terminal cancer. His wife discovers the lethal cocktail bottle, and he's forced to reveal his plan to the whole family with surprising results. In the somewhat lighter 'The Night in Baden-Baden,' a playwright is falsely accused by his longtime girlfriend of having an affair. Bereft after this shocking, and violent, accusation, the playwright has a tryst with a waitress, fulfilling his girlfriend's fears, in what may be the gem in a generally top-notch collection from Schlink (The Reader)." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
In seven masterfully controlled, emotionally veracious stories, Bernhard Schlink—best-selling author of The Reader—brings his trademark light touch to the emergence of truth, love, and lies.
The truth is, as a character in Bernhard Schlink's provocative new collection puts it, "passionate, beautiful, and hideous, it can make you happy and it can torture you, and it's always liberating." So, too, is the act of telling a lie—to others and to ourselves. In "After the Season," a man of humble means falls quickly in love with a woman belonging to a much elevated financial status and wrestles with his feelings and his beliefs about the rich. A son takes his distant father to a Bach festival in "Johann Sebastian Bach on Ruegen" only to learn that perhaps he was the one who was never really present in their relationship. And in "The Night in Baden-Baden" a man who's caught in a lie changes his ways—by sleeping with another woman only after being accused of it. With Summer Lies, Bernhard Schlink brings his subtle skill to the emergence of truth and deception.
About the Author
Bernhard Schlink is the author of the internationally best-selling novel The Reader. He is a former judge and teaches public law and legal philosophy at Humboldt University in Berlin and at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York City.