ebook / ISBN-13: 9781474611169

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‘Bernhard Schlink speaks straight to the heart’ New York Times
‘Brilliant… A tale of love and loss in 20th century Germany’ Evening Standard
‘A cleverly-constructed tale of cross-class romance’ Mail on Sunday
‘A poignant portrait of a woman out of step with her time’ Observer

Olga is an orphan raised by her grandmother in a Prussian village around the turn of the 20th century. Smart and precocious, she fights against the prejudices of the time to find her place in a world that sees her as second-best.

When she falls in love with Herbert, a local aristocrat obsessed with the era’s dreams of power, glory and greatness, her life is irremediably changed.

Theirs is a love against all odds, entwined with the twisting paths of German history, leading us from the late 19th to the early 21st century, from Germany to Africa and the Arctic, from the Baltic Sea to the German south-west.

This is the story of that love, of Olga’s devotion to a restless man – told in thought, letters and in a fateful moment of great rebellion.


Schlink tells a gripping, true-to-life story which startles you with its unforeseen twists, and not only makes you think, but feel too.
NDR Kultur
In this moving book Bernhard Schlink resurrects the last traces of an unfulfilled love, with his trademark, sophisticated nostalgia.
Le Nouvel Observateur
This is not a straightforward elegy - and throughout the book, death is not an absolute end. Instead, Schlink frames the novel as a search for meaning, which dances in Olga between a multitude of timeframes and territories. Throughout, Charlotte Collins's translation is careful and beautifully paced
Financial Times
Schlink was and is an author for readers who love intelligently told stories. And they won't be disappointed by Olga.
Tages-Anzeiger, Zurich
Schlink is a brilliant stylist; this bittersweet love affair is deeply moving.
Hamburger Abendblatt
[Schlink] takes up motifs from his most famous work The Reader. Olga, who fights to be allowed to continue her education, seems like an alternative draft of the illiterate Hannah, whose lacking abilities led to her becoming a concentration camp guard during the Nazi era.
Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung
The third part of the novel - letters Olga writes to Herbert after he's set out for the Arctic - is the most beautiful. Here, the camera finally zooms in and we learn of Olga's feelings, how she's torn between hope and fear, love and anger at her lover, who has left her for a madcap expedition.
A poignant portrait of a woman out of step with her time.
A cleverly-constructed tale of cross-class romance... Olga's story draws us into a present-day reckoning with Germany's past.
Mail on Sunday
Olga is captivating. Bernhard Schlink tells the story in lucid, serene language. He is a master of this warm, pleasant tone, which has a hint of the old-fashioned to it.
Bernhard Schlink, one of Germany's best-loved authors, is famous beyond its borders for the international bestseller The Reader. Like that excellent novel, his latest, Olga, is a searching examination of modern Germany and its scarred soul... there's a sophisticated precision to his writing, which is superbly translated by Charlotte Collins. And in Schlink's macro look at Germany's past, it's the small acts - of kindness and humility - that linger.
Sunday Telegraph, Novel of the Week
One of Bernhard Schlink's secrets stems from his art of telling stories by interweaving the standpoints of different generations in the very same life story. Olga is another very well-done example of that.
Le Monde
Everything points towards Olga being a new bestseller which can pick up where the international success of The Reader left off. In other words: not to be missed!
A compelling tale of love and thwarted dreams... Schlink's lucid, no-frills prose lends his novel immediacy, and at times potency, and gives us a character to root for.
The Herald
Bernhard Schlink, whose The Reader we haven't forgotten, impresses again with Olga.
From the author of The Reader comes a brilliant new novel about history and the nature of memory... The story of Olga, translated here from German by Charlotte Collins, is the story of Germany's modern history. It is also a study of memory... You should read this novel if you appreciate the power of history. How do we remember each other? As individuals, or as parts of a larger whole? As they were, or as we wish they had been? The narration can be breakneck: decades pass in single sentences, while other paragraphs describe mere moments. This is the effect of memory; lives are condensed into a series of experiences and relationships. One line still sticks in my head, in a letter from a Norwegian bookseller. "History is not the past as it really was. It's the shape we give it".
Evening Standard