Peter Debauer grew up in post-WWII Germany believing his father was dead. But when Peter rediscovers a pulpy novel he’d read as a child, he becomes determined to find its author — a man with a Nazi past who could be his dad. However intriguing the premise of Homecoming, German judge-cum-writer Bernhard Schlink (whose ’97 novel, The Reader, was an Oprah-approved best-seller) delivers a bumpy narrative that is weakened by plot implausibilities and forced allusions to The Odyssey, Hannah Arendt, and the philosophy of justice. Schlink’s stiff prose (at least in English translation) only underscores the book’s shortcomings. B-

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