The Kindly Ones has ratings and reviews. Glenn said: “Please, mein Herr, shoot the children cleanly.”― Jonathan Littell, The Kindly OnesSu. Les Bienveillantes de Jonathan Littell a créé l’événement de la rentrée littéraire Selon l’auteur, la portée du roman dépasse le seul génocide des Juifs. 78 Myth, Morals, and Metafiction in Jonathan Littell’s Les Bienveillantes [ PM LA and Littell has asked his translators to use in each language the name under.
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A former Bienveillwntes officer, Dr. Maximilien Aue has reinvented himself, many years after the war, as a middle-class family man and factory owner in France.
An intellectual steeped in philosophy, literature, and classical music, he is also a cold. An intellectual steeped in philosophy, literature, and classical music, he is also a cold-blooded assassin and the consummate bureaucrat.
Through the eyes of this cultivated yet monstrous man we experience in disturbingly precise detail the horrors of the Second World War and the Nazi genocide of the Jews.
An intense and hallucinatory historical epic, The Kindly Ones is also a morally challenging read. It holds a mirror up to humanity—and the reader cannot look away.
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Review: Kindly Ones by Jonathan Littell | Books | The Guardian
Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. The Kindly Ones by Jonathan Littell. An intellectual steeped in philosophy, literature, and classical music, he is also a cold- Bienveilkantes one of the ” Best Books of the Decade” by The Times of London “Oh my human brothers, let me tell you how it happened. Hardcoverpages. Published March 3rd by Harper first published August 21st To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The Kindly Onesplease sign up.
As I’m sure everyone knows, this book is pretty long. I definitely want to read it. It this book a must read? Let me know what everyone thinks I’d say it’s a must read for anyone that enjoys …more In my case I didn’t know what to expect when I started the book and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’d say it’s a must read for anyone that enjoys historical fiction set during WWII, however you must enjoy dark humor and a touch of surrealism. I loved this book is there anything similar anyone can recommend?
Unfortunately there is no English translation, but you must try if you know German. See 2 questions about The Kindly Ones…. Lists with This Book. Dec 17, Glenn Russell rated it it was amazing. I had bienvelilantes listen to the audio book while taking my walks and let all the evil from the novel run down my legs and out the bottom of my feet; so much evil, thus my initial reluctance to write a review and highly recommend.
However, the writing is excellent and the insights on human nature, history and culture ibenveillantes. The first-person narrator starts his story by telling us nowadays his head begins to rage with the roar of a crematorium, that when he is at a bar he pictures someone entering with a shotgun and blasting away; that when he is watching a film in a theater he imagines a live grenade under the seats; that when he is among dozens of happy families on a pleasant Sunday afternoon attending a festival in the town square he sees a car filled with explosives blowing up, turning the festivities into unending carnage, blood and guts everywhere, groan, screams, pitiful cries filling the air and then lez long harrowing silence and emptiness for the survivors.
Such are his thoughts since, as he also tells us, he is a veritable memory machine, unceasingly manufacturing memories bieneillantes he has the time to think.
And what is the focus of his memories? As a good number of readers have remarked once finishing this thousand pager, not an easy read, in many respects, a downright harrowing and horrifying read. Once read, never forgotten. Max is on a high cliff watching a procession of gondolas glide down a river, he clearly sees his gorgeous identical twin sister sitting cross-legged, her long flowing black hair falling over her perfectly shaped breasts.
Max shouts her name many times. She raises her head and their eyes meet. At this point Max feels violent stomach cramps, undoes his pants and squats down, but instead of shit, real live bees, spiders and scorpions gush out his anus.
He screams out and then turns bieneillantes head and sees identical twin young boys staring at him in silence. Max is gliding at different levels high up in the sky looking down, almost more like a camera than a human, looking down at a huge city set out on a uniform grid, seeing thousands and thousands of blue-eyed men and women and children, faceless, moving mechanically through birth, growth, adulthood and death creating a perfect equilibrium which reminds Max of what an ideal concentration camp would be like.
In a dark bedroom Max sees a tall beautiful woman in a long white dress. He recognizes the woman is his sister. She suffers uncontrollable convulsions and diarrhea, black shit oozes through her white dress causing Max to experience great disgust and nausea. Max exchanges cloths with his sister Una, he putting on her dress, she putting on his uniform. He sits in her chair at led dressing table and then Una carefully makes up his face, combing his hair, applying lipstick.
Una then straps on an ebony phallus. After an bienveillahtes session of intertwining like snakes, Max rests on the floor and says he is her sister and she is her brother to which Una replies that you are my sister and I am your brother. Again, one of the most evil tales ever told. View all 43 comments. Mar 12, Matt rated it it was ok Shelves: Lugging this gigantic book around, from Omaha to Minneapolis to Dubai to Lew back to Omaha, I began to question why I was reading it.
In the end, the unasked question – why are you reading this? It’s a hot mess, but with aspirations. It’s opening line – “Oh my human brothers, let me tell you how it happened” – smacks of Homer.
Indeed, right up until the penultimate chapter, I was halfway enjoying it. The novel, told in first person my SS officer Maximilien Aue, attempts to encompass the whole horror of the Holocaust. Like a sadistic, bloodstained Forrest Gump, Aue bounces from einsatz aktions in the Caucuses there is a grim depiction of the massacre at Babi Yarto the winter hell of Stalingrad, to the concentration lirtell of Auschwitz, and finally to Hitler’s bunker and the twilight of the gods.
I heard of this book by way of its controversy. It was a big hit in France, which should forever lay to rest any lingering belief that the French know anything about art. Here in America, it was severely panned by none other than Michiko Kakutani.
When she described its unsavory elements – murder, incest, sodomy, unrelenting gore – I knew I had to bienveillanttes this work immediately. At first, through about pages, I thought the controversy was a whole lot of nothing. Yes, there were some graphic passages, especially dealing with the einsatzkommandos slaughtering thousands of Jews and other undesirables by firing squad. Yet this is what good historical fiction does: In this instance, that place and time is unimaginably dark, but that doesn’t mean that some light shouldn’t be shed.
I thought the recreation of the Belorussian slaughter was powerful. I also thought there were some clever moments, as when Aue meets a Caucasian peasant who has been gifted with the ability to have all memories at once.
The evil that ordinary men can do
The peasant leads Aue to the mountain summit where Aue is supposed to kill him. For the most part, though, the book was – and I hate to say the word – dull.
Hannah Arendt was right: The book is filled with non-characters. For the most part, though, they remain names, an undifferentiated mass. There is an fascinating bit, here and there, such as a dinner party with Eichmann, or a grouse hunt with Speer, but they are lost in a sea of never-ending crap prose.
There are lengthy, turgid passages on Caucasian languages, and a dense, meandering conversation about the similarities between Bolshevism and Fascism. Also, there are endless mentions of poop. Its smell; Aue’s need to evacuate his bowels; detailed descriptions of said evacuation, etc. I’ve never been exposed to such scatological descriptions, and hope never to be again.
Still, nothing too litell.
The Kindly Ones (Littell novel) – Wikipedia
Sure, Aue is in love with his twin sister, with whom he had an incestuous relationship, but this dark angle is not dwelt upon in relation to how much Aue dwells on poop. And he also may-or-may-not have killed his mother, but this is just soap-drama. I started to think that Michiko might have been wrong. Where is the sick, depraved stuff that lured me in and just to editorialize a little, I feel that many of these book reviews are very regressive when it comes to sexuality; just because Aue is a homosexual does not make him “deviant”; there is an underlying whiff of homophobia in many of the pans I’ve read.
Then, at pageI came to that chapter. Suffice it to say, it involves a lot of auto-asphyxiation, masturbation, and defecation. I could’ve done without that. Moreover, this all occurs while the Russians are encircling Berlin.
With the whole nation collapses, Aue manages to get vacation time so he can spend some time with himself. In fact, the whole endgame of this enormous book is terrible.
There isn’t a single believable instance Anthony Beevor, I’m surprised at you jonathwn suggesting this book! It’s not just that Aue jonathann led to Hitler’s bunker and does something completely ridiculous, it’s that bineveillantes the final pages, all the main characters somehow meet each other.
The Russians are pouring into the city, bombs are bursting, mortar rounds are exploding, buildings are burning, bullets are whistling, yet everyone manages to come together for a final, bloody denouement. This utter collapse – the same malady affecting The Dark Knight – really ruined things for me. For as I said, up till that time, this book has a lot of interesting things to offer. There are vivid, nightmarish descriptions that would make Dante proud.
There is a strangely beautiful, ghastly scene in which Aue goes swimming in the Volga outside Stalingrad: