Monday, 5 July 2010

The Weekend, Bernhard Schlink – A Text Based Adventure?

The weekend - cover
The Weekend is based upon a group of old friends who were mostly casual terrorists in the RAF meeting up for a weekend in the country. It revolves around Jörg who has just been released from prison after being pardoned for the murders he had committed twenty odd years before.

Through the first few chapters The Weekend felt a bit like a text based adventure. You’d meet a character and they dump a massive part of their life story onto you. You’d walk down a path in a wood, wondering which way you should wander(go South; go North; go North; go West). You enter a room and the barest description is given followed by a list of items in it (take all). I felt a bit overwhelmed by the eleven characters that present themselves one after the other. Some are just described as wife or husband to begin with but get named later on, which usually ends up confusing me so I have to skip back and read earlier parts again.

The book is split into three parts, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. By the end of Friday I didn’t really care for any of the characters and was hoping someone would turn up and shoot most of them. But over the Saturday Schlinky drew me into the story. The characters had time to develop, become more interesting and engender my sympathy (I’m not a complete bastard).
In the end everyone talks a lot, a few people possibly fall in love and everyone works together to bail out a flooded cellar. And maybe this was the message of the book; Buckets bring people together.

Not really. But the book is good if you can get through the slightly bizarre first part. Maybe the ending doesn’t live up to what it could have been or what the blurb on the back suggests but I didn’t feel disappointed. Though if you are after something with even the slightest bit of action in it you’d be better off with a text based adventure like this:

Also if you are going to read it but don’t know much about German Terrorism it might be worth reading up on Red Army Faction/Baader-Meinhof Group as it will probably help understand what the book is about.

You can preorder The Weekend now. It's out in October.


P.S. Lauren's review is coming soon. Honest. She does exist.