"Do you read a lot?"
"A little. Being read to is nicer." She looked at me. "That's over now, isn't it?"
"Why should it be over?" But I couldn't see myself talking into cassettes for her or meeting her to read aloud.
"I was so glad and so proud of you when you learned to read. And what nice letters you wrote me!" That was true; I had admired her and been glad, because she was reading and she wrote to me,
But I could feel how little my admiration and happiness were worth compared to what learning to read and write must have cost Hanna, how meagre they must have been if they could not even get me to answer her, visit her, talk to her.
I had granted Hanna a small niche, certainly an important niche, one from which I gained something and for which I did something, but not a place in my life."
Page 195, 'The Reader' by Bernard Schlink.
Translated from the German by Carol Brown Janeway.
Movie adaptation by Stephen Daldry.
Photo: Google Images