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Summer Lies: Stories Hardcover – August 14, 2012

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon; 1ST edition (August 14, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780307907264
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307907264
  • ASIN: 0307907260
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #751,949 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“A thoughtful, stimulating collection.”

“Eloquent and profound . . . a generally top-notch collection from Schlink.”
Publishers Weekly
“In each affecting story in this hot, blurry haze of summer, the valley between truth and deception is neither straight nor wide.” 

Praise for The Weekend
“Schlink deftly manages his characters’ interlocking stories yet refuses to give readers an easy answer to the central dilemma . . . [A] beautifully crafted and stimulating read.”
—Library Journal
“Schlink avoids the easy route of condemnation and salvation . . . The book’s real strength is the finely wrought dynamic among the characters, whose relationships and histories are fraught with a powerful sense of tension and possibly untoward potential.”
—Publishers Weekly
Praise for The Reader
“Arresting, philosophically elegant, morally complex . . . Schlink tells this story with marvelous directness and simplicity, his writing stripped bare of any of the standard gimmicks of dramatization.”
—The New York Times
“[A] beautiful, disturbing, and finally morally devastating novel. From the first page, The Reader ensnares both heart and mind.”
—Los Angeles Times
Praise for Homecoming
“Sensitive and disturbing . . . The reader’s mind opens to the story like a plant unfurling its leaves to the sun.”
—The New York Times Book Review

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.

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Customer Reviews

These stories are carefully crafted gems.
Pamela Malone
The two stories I read felt more like a series of montages as opposed to moments with bits of boring dialogue thrown in.
Each story in this collection explores basic themes.
Dennis M. Patterson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jean Gross on September 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This collection of short stories appeals mainly because of universal themes handled in a way that can be understood ( empathized with) by anyone, that is understood by anyone of any country or of any nationality in any time--not just our time. You really don't need to know that the author is a German man, or that he also wrote "The Reader", a successful book and movie. The stories are not " German".

The writing is spare. The dramas are small dramas that we all have been through or can easily imagine going through. It must be very difficult to write in this manner, with no extraneous details, and still keep the plot moving and the reader involved.

I will re-read this collection. It is exceptionally well-written.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By D_shrink VINE VOICE on November 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
!. AFTER THE SEASON - One of my favorite lines from this story is "Because you're less alone with a few people than with a crowd." How true that often is. The couple, Richard and Susan Hartman, were two opposites who were initially attracted to each other before they ever got to know one another. It becomes a doomed relationship with serious choices to be made.
2. THE NIGHT IN BADEN BADEN - A serial adulterer playwright takes a mistress to the opening of his play and lies to his wife about it. She suspects, reads his email and phone log and confronts him. He admits his guilt, falsely proclaiming his sorrow for the indiscretion and goes merrily on his way to more fun and frolic. He is hard to like, and that is being kind about it. He wanted it all, but settled for much less if it was fun at the time.
3. THE HOUSE IN THE FOREST - An aspiring German writer falls in love with a successful American writer envying her fame. As he says on p87 "This is the way life had always been: when he had to choose, it was always between two bad alternatives."
4.STRANGER IN THE NIGHT - A man's girlfriend is supposedly kidnapped by a high official of the Kuwaiti government. At least that is the story he begins to tell, but then mentions that shorty thereafter 3 million was anonymously deposited in his bank account. So was he complicit in her abduction and does he really want to get her back and give back the 3 million?
5. THE LAST SUMMER - Thomas Wellmer was a professor of philosophy in both NYC and Germany. This is a vivid portrayal of his lifetime remembrances, especially his love affair at age 19 with a girl named Helena. His life becomes too much for him and he has obtained a bottle of medicine from a doctor friend to end his life.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Richda D. McNutt on October 11, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I'm glad that I haven't read "The Reader," (although I have seen the film version) - I can accept this book on its own merits. I found the seven short stories to be quite thought-provoking and very well-written. Schlink connects lies voiced, lies unsaid, lies that actually become memories of past events in our lives - our self-deception takes many forms and can be very imaginative. His characters are well-drawn, sometimes distant, sometimes unpleasant. I particularly liked the first and last stories. In the first, a man and woman meet on an eastern beach vacation and are immediately attracted and drawn to each other. It eventually becomes evident that there is great disparity in their income levels and life styles, which poses problems for the man. When he returns to his neighborhood, you can understand his reluctance to change his life in order to be with her. He leads a very full and satisfying lifestyle in a New York neighborhood that has many connections and pleasures. While he may not have a comfortable economic situation, he has wealth. I don't think I would want to relinquish that either. The last story begins with a killer opening sentence (which I can't reproduce exactly because I don't have the book here), but it was something akin to, "The day she stopped loving her children was much like any other day." If that doesn't make you gasp, little will. It's the story of an elderly woman who has lived her entire life deceiving herself because she cannot bear the weight of the truth that caused her life to be entirely different from what it could have been. All of the stories are good, but these two stood out for me. Perhaps now I will open "The Reader."
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dennis M. Patterson on September 21, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
"The Reader" was a captivating story. In this collection, Schlink shows how he has mastered the short story format. With each new book, Schlink demonstrates his talents as a writer. He writes about the most important aspects of human existence with insight and intelligence. Each story in this collection explores basic themes. The prose is beautifully rendered into English. Schlink's style is spare and elegant. I loved each of these stories.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Roger Brunyate TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 31, 2013
Format: Hardcover
The seven substantial stories in this new collection by Bernhard Schlink are all good, but I warn you: they can be depressing. Almost all are about the break-up of relationships, whether summer romances that had begun with much promise, or marriages that had endured half a lifetime. As reflects the author's divided professional life, teaching law in both Berlin and New York, four stories are set in Germany, two in the US, and one on a flight between the two. As for the title, most of the stories take place during the summer, and all involve lies. Not always major lies, though; some are merely self-deceptions or lies of omission or silence when speaking is called for. With the exception of the undercurrent to one back-story, this is not Schlink the jurist dealing with traumata from the German past, but an author writing on the smaller scale of sad personal experience. For his sake and ours, I wish it were otherwise, but there is that undeniable authenticity throughout.

There is a good deal of variety all the same, and the sequence of stories in the book follows a sensible progression from the middle years to old age. "After the Season," opens with a late-season romance between two forty-somethings on rainy Cape Cod. The characters in "The Night in Baden-Baden" are of a similar age, a playwright and an academic separated by mutually incompatible schedules and by the failure of one of them to tell the truth about something that didn't actually happen. The difficult relationship between two writers returns again in "The House in the Woods," but here they are living together in an idyllic retreat in upstate New York, and any separation comes from within.
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