Q&A with Bernhard Schlink
Q: A light seems to turn on for Michael during the trial regarding who Hanna truly might be, beyond just discovering that she's illiterate. Was it your intention that the reader would see her differently as well?
A: Yes. When Michael realizes what she's done and he sees beyond the cruelty that showed up in some moments earlier. He sees there is some much deeper and bigger cruelty that is part of her personality.