The Woman on the Stairs by Bernhard Schlink
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I'm a sucker for a flawed narrator, especially when the reader catches glimpses of those flaws ahead of the narrator's discovery of them in him or herself, but only as long as there's ample opportunity for redemption and the opportunities are eventually grasped. In part, these aspects drew me to the naive and unimaginative lawyer in Bernhard Schlink's wonderful The Woman on the Stairs: his inability to understand Irene Gundlach, the mysterious woman who modelled for the eponymous painting, coupled with his determination to be her shining knight - to 'save her' and have her love him... while failing to see that it was he who needed saving. Although his behaviour was a tad irritating at times (offset by the arrogance of both the artist and her ex-husband), the delightfully mellow narrative voice of this novel draws the reader along towards a beautiful, redemptive climax (albeit a far from expected one.) A rich novel.
View all my reviews