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Bernhard Schlink is best known for his 1995 novel “The Reader,” the first German novel to reach No. 1 on the New York Times Bestseller List. (Photo: Gaby Gerster) Bernhard Schlink is best known for his 1995 novel “The Reader,” the first German novel to reach No. 1 on the New York Times Bestseller List. (Photo: Gaby Gerster)
 


SDSU Hosts German Novelist Bernhard Schlink

Renowned German writer Bernard Schlink will speak at SDSU on Monday, March 20.
By SDSU News Team
 

San Diego State University will host internationally acclaimed German novelist Bernhard Schlink at 2 p.m. on Monday, March 20, in the Gold Auditorium in the Donald P. Shiley BioScience Center. Schlink will speak about his latest novel, “The Woman on the Stairs,” a powerful exploration of obsession, creativity and love.

Moving between West Germany in the late 1960s—the era of anti-Vietnam War protests, the student movement, and violent domestic terrorist attacks—and contemporary Australia, the novel plots alternate pathways into the present rooted in the same turbulent moment in time.

Reviewers have praised “The Woman on the Stairs” for its elegant prose, the complexity of its characters, and its thoughtful engagement with the politics of the day. Dagmar Kaindly of News magazine in Austria described the novel as “a daring, hugely emotional work of literature.”

Schlink’s background as a former constitutional court justice and a legal scholar informs the clarity and incisiveness of his poetic language, as well as the moral questions he raises. Schlink teaches law and legal philosophy at the Humboldt University in Berlin and at the Benjamin N. Cardoza School of Law in New York City. He is best known for his 1995 novel “The Reader,” a story of love, secrets, horror, and compassion, unfolding against the haunted landscape of postwar Germany. It became the first German novel to reach No. 1 on the New York Times Best Seller List. The 2008 film adaptation, directed by Stephen Daldry and starring Ralph Fiennes and Kate Winslet, was nominated for five Oscars and earned Winslet an Academy Award for Best Actress.

Schlink’s campus visit is sponsored by the SDSU German Program; the Department of English and Comparative Literature’s Humanities in Action Program; MALAS, the Master of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences program at SDSU; the Center for European Studies; and the College of Arts and Letters. Additional support comes from the German American San Diego Foundation and Adventures by the Book. The event is free and open to the public.