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The Woman on the Stairs
by Bernhard Schlink and Joyce Hackett and Bradley Schmidt


Overview - In a museum far from home a man stumbles onto a painting of a woman for whom he once, long ago, risked everything and who then mysteriously disappeared from his life.

As a young lawyer, the nameless protagonist of The Woman on the Stairs became entangled in the affairs of three people mired in a complex and destructive relationship.  Read more...


 
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More About The Woman on the Stairs by Bernhard Schlink; Joyce Hackett; Bradley Schmidt
 
 
 
Overview
In a museum far from home a man stumbles onto a painting of a woman for whom he once, long ago, risked everything and who then mysteriously disappeared from his life.

As a young lawyer, the nameless protagonist of The Woman on the Stairs became entangled in the affairs of three people mired in a complex and destructive relationship. An artist, the woman whose portrait he had painted, and her husband became a triangle that drew the lawyer deeper and deeper into their tangled web. Now, encountering the painting that triggered it all, the lawyer must reconcile his past and present selves; when he eventually locates the woman, he is forced to confront the truth of his love and the reality that his life has been irrevocably changed.

With The Woman on the Stairs, the internationally acclaimed author of The Reader delivers a powerful new novel about obsession, creativity, and love. Intricately crafted, poignant, and beguiling, this is Bernhard Schlink writing at his peak.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781101870716
  • ISBN-10: 1101870710
  • Publisher: Pantheon Books
  • Publish Date: March 2017
  • Page Count: 240
  • Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.85 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Literary
Books > Fiction > Mystery & Detective - General
Books > Fiction > Cultural Heritage

 
BookPage Reviews

Portrait of a betrayal

Bernhard Schlink is best known for his internationally successful novel The Reader (1997), and he returns to the themes of passion and loss in The Woman on the Stairs, about a German lawyer who stumbles onto a nude painting of a woman for whom he once risked his career and who then mysteriously disappeared from his life.

When the nameless protagonist is in Sydney working on a case, he comes across a familiar painting in a local museum. Decades earlier, as a young lawyer in Frankfurt, he became entangled in an affair involving an artist, a woman named Irene and her art collector husband, who commissioned the aforementioned painting of the unfaithful Irene. Hired to mediate a series of conflicts involving damage and restoration of the canvas, the lawyer fell in love with Irene, who in turn convinced him to help her steal the painting, promising she would run away with him if they were successful. The day he helped her was the last day he saw her.

The lawyer is able to locate Irene with the help of a local detective. Living in a remote area outside of Sydney, Irene is now leading a quiet life, assisting her elderly neighbors and growing her own food. It also becomes apparent that she is quite ill. Irene’s life of passion forces the lawyer to come to terms with his own losses and to understand that many of his choices were merely reactions to the coldness that he experienced as a child.

Schlink, a professor of law in both Germany and the United States, writes with lawyerly precision, and his protagonist’s midlife search for meaning is thought-provoking and surprisingly tender, though some of the characters never fully come to life. The Woman on the Stairs will appeal to readers as an exploration of the moral ambiguities of blame and guilt and the ethical issues of ownership.

 

This article was originally published in the April 2017 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
BAM Customer Reviews