What gives is that Bernard Schlink, the book's original author wanted to provide a probing, exhaustive disinterral of post-war German guilt. In which case, can I make a suggestion? Don't pick as your hero someone who merely shagged a war criminal, Bernard. Pick a war criminal, their butler or maid. Shagging a war criminal is unlikely to provide you with probing, exhaustive disinterral of anything much except one's poor choice of shagging partners when you are a horny sixteen year old boy. Horny sixteens year old boys will shag anything. The lesson to be drawn from such a tale are, one would have thought, negligable.
How guilty can he a sixteen year old kid be made to feel exactly for sleeping with an attractive war criminal? I would imagine the most he would feel is a kind of momentary fate-infused grodiness — a sort of sexual-cosmic eew. But to have it blight your entire life, as if guilt were some kind of contagion, passed on through the most fleeting of contacts? What a complete crock. This story was concocted by someone who has spent almost no time observing those frail, feckless creatures we call human beings and all his time having ideas about them.