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Self's Deception Paperback – June 12, 2007


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More from Bernhard Schlink
Bernhard Schlink's novels are beautiful, disturbing, and often devastating tales of identity and justice. Visit Amazon's Bernhard Schlink Page.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Tra edition (June 12, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375709088
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375709081
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.3 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,352,963 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In German author Schlink's meandering second crime novel available in English to feature aging PI Gerhard Self (after Self'sPunishment), a man named Salger hires Self to locate his missing daughter, Leonore. With little help from the father, Self tracks the missing girl to an insane asylum outside Heidelberg, where he's informed by a doctor that Leo has recently died there in an accident. Self quickly learns, among other details, that the death report is untrue, Leo's father is not really her father and that the case is connected to a top-secret government investigation. Self can be completely off the wall one minute—he lies outrageously to anyone who might have information and breaks-and-enters without compunction—and the next he's as comfortable as an old shoe, having a glass of Riesling and hanging out with his cat, Turbo. The eccentric detective is the big draw, with the less than action-packed investigation coming in a distant second. (June)
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Review

“A sophisticated, chilling and superbly written thriller.”
—Michael Dibdin, author of Back to Bologna

“A delightfully unique protagonist, a marvelous complex mystery.”
—Mike Lawson, bestselling author of The Second Perimeter

“Immensely pleasurable and deeply intriguing. Schlink has crafted a novel rich with the comforts of insight and humanity.”
—Dan Fesperman, author of The Prisoner of Guantánamo
 
“From this highly gifted writer another delightfully winding crime story, told with bleak and bitter irony.”
—Håkan Nesser, author of The Return

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Gregory Janos on December 1, 2007
Format: Paperback
A little known German writer who made a hit worldwide with The Reader, his Self novels do not dissapoint A great new character, very smart plots with human psychology and socio-political commentary all blended nicely.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Hope for the Best on August 11, 2007
Format: Paperback
Schlink's writing is brilliant and the wit, irony, and style are delightful. I found the characterizations deeply satisfying and this is certainly one of the most thoughtful mysteries I've read in years. A gifted writer and a wonderful book (Self's Punishment is a near second).
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Damian Kelleher on August 12, 2007
Format: Paperback
Crime novels - be they mystery, murder, suspense, thriller - require an interesting protagonist to work effectively. Indeed, sometimes the crime itself may take a backseat to the adventures and doings of the main character. Bernhard Schlink's new novel, Self's Deception, follow this route. It is Gerhard Self, the protagonist, who makes the story, and not the crime and certainly not the mystery. Self is introspective, ironic, slightly bitter but aware of himself in a world that is puzzling, historic, cultural, intellectual, mysterious, vapid, violent. Unfortunately this reliance on character is so strong in Self's Deception that the plot, that rambling, confused mess, suffers too much. Gerhard Self is an interesting enough fellow that he did not need a fairly average thriller plot on which to hang his cap, but because Schlink has seen fit to throw him in the midst of terrorism, murder and intrigue, that is what he has to do. Character, finally, takes a backstage to plot.

Gerhard Self was once a Nazi prosecutor, and is now a private investigator in his late sixties. He is calm under pressure, inward and introspective about almost everything, and seems to take more joy in the intellectual pursuits of his love than he does in his work. When he is hired to find Leo Salgar, the disappeared daughter of a powerful Bonn bureaucrat, Self instead wanders about having conversations, thinking about chess, drinking coffee and wondering about the world. But this is endearing, a wholly effective quality for a private eye to possess. The nature of his trade naturally requires lengthy periods of waiting and watching, sitting in cars drinking coffee for hours on end. Introspection is a natural 'curse' in this case, and Self indulges at every stage.
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Format: Paperback
Complex mystery featuring a dour, old private detective in Mannheim, Germany who is hired by a man pretending to be the father of a missing daughter. But, nothing is as it appears in this well crafted mystery-thriller which embraces terrorism, political cover-ups and secret biological weapons stored at a U.S. Army base. The writing is precise and the author is intimately knowledgeable of locations and the German legal system.

The plot is superb as are the main characters who are linked by seemingly invisible webs. Moreover, the author has a critical view of German federal and state police agencies who use terrorist events for political purposes. The main characters are extremely engaging because they are engulfed by historical events which instigate crimes without apparent motive.

Bernard Schlink was born in Germany and raised in Heidelberg. He is a former lawyer, judge and law professor who retired during 2006. He is better known for The Reader which is the first German novel to achieve the number one position on the New York Times bestseller list. Published during 1995 it was made into a film during 2008, starring Kate Winslet, who portrayed a former Nazi concentration camp guard and won an Oscar, Golden Globen and Screen Actor's Guild awards for best actress. Also, the film was a finalist for the Oscar Best Picture award.

Schlink received more acclaim during 2010 for his novel The Weekend, which again embraced terrorism, redemption, and characters caught in predicament of judging others.

Mystery fans will love the three novels featuring private detective Gerhard Self, a semi-autobiographical character.
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By Jean Muenzenberger on January 15, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
This book was an easy read yet not overly simple. There was a point, midway through Part II where I thought the story dragged a little but not for long. Overall I would recommend reading this book.
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