New York Times Book Review

Here is a sampling from the David Gates review:

“While ‘The Kindly Ones’ may have a Nabokovian narrator — obscurantist in his erudition, hyperspecialized in his sexual tastes — its exhaustively researched historicity and documentarian realism clearly derive from “War and Peace.” It would take a writer of unimaginable genius to work these opposed tendencies into a coherent whole — and Tolstoy himself might have thought twice before trying to write fiction about the Holocaust. (Though, being Tolstoy, he would eventually have rolled up his sleeves anyhow.) Since nothing can rival the monstrosity of the historical record and the eyewitness accounts, the novelist may choose to put the focus on the individual, whose private concerns, however dire, will seem dinky in the context of what happened to six million individuals (not counting the always insufficiently anguished perpetrators). Or the novelist can try a knight’s move into the absurd — as Littell has done in episodes like the narrator’s odd encounter with Hitler — but it’s ultimately just an artful dodge. Absurdity may be disorienting, but brutality is absolute.
You can’t blame Littell for failing an impossible self-assignment. Nor can you fault a young novelist with a world of information, erudition and ambition for taking it on.”

Read the rest of the review.

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2 Responses to “New York Times Book Review”

  1. Dolores Heinze Says:

    Dear Mr. Kyle,

    When referring to the number of victims of the Holocaust, I
    wonder why you say 6 million when I believe that the number
    is approximately 11 million. Specifically targeted were the 6
    million Jews, but approximately 5 million “others” were also
    targeted. Gypsies, homosexuals, the mentally and physically
    disabled, Poles, (about 1 million), etc..
    Should we not memorialize these people as well?

    Dolores Heinze

  2. editorialcampana Says:

    Has anyone read this book that would tell us what they thought? I am interested in reading the book but would like to hear what others thought. Even though it is supposed to be popular and there seemed to be a lot of talk (especially from the publishers) I know of no one who has read it.

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