Critically acclaimed as gA formally beautiful, disturbing, and finally morally devastating novel. From the first pagec [it] ensnares both heart and mindh ( Los Angeles Times), the novel tells the story of a young boy, 15, Michael Berg, through his own interior narration. He finds himself emotionally and sexually attached to a woman of over twice his age, Hanna Schmitz. She then breaks his heart by deserting him. Michael is emotionally torn by this incident and consequently develops a subconscious obsession with her.
Years after the mysterious disappearance of Hanna, Michael marries a woman named Gertrude. gGertrude was smart, efficient, and loyalh (3p 171) yet she never fulfilled Michael in the same way as Hanna had previously. Unknowingly he drove her away through his constant comparisons and dissatisfaction that Gertrude could not be the woman he wanted. gI could never stop comparing the way it was with Gertrude and the way it had been with Hanna; again and again, Gertrude and I would hold each other, and I would feel that something was wrong, that she was wrong, that she moved wrong and felt wrong, smelled wrong and tasted wrong.h (p 171) In his relationship with Gertrude, Michael cannot remember to forget Hanna as, at the time, he doesnft realise but subconsciously he is comparing the two and sabotaging his relationship.
In the unconscious state, dreams are the purest form of truth into a personfs subconscious. In Michaelfs dreams he physically yearns for Hannafs