About the book
On March 3rd, 2009, the much-anticipated English language edition of The Kindly Ones will be available in bookstores.
Originally published in French under the title Les Bienveillantes, Jonathan Littell’s novel won the Prix Goncourt, France’s most prestigious literary award, as well as the Prix de Littérature, awarded by the Académie Française. Subsequently the book has been published to high acclaim in Italy, Germany, Israel, Sweden, and throughout Europe. A runaway international bestseller—The Kindly Ones is one of the most provocative and controversial novels to appear in decades.
The Kindly Ones is a fictional memoir of Dr. Max Aue, a former Nazi officer who survived the war and has reinvented himself, many years later, as a middle-class entrepreneur and family man in northern France. Through the eyes of this cultivated yet monstrous man, we experience in graphic, disturbingly precise detail the horrors of the Second World War and the Nazi genocide of the Jews. Although Maxi is a totally imagined character, his world is peopled by historical figures such as Eichmann, Himmler, Göring, and Hitler himself. Through Max’s account we witness the horrors of the Baba Yar massacre in the Ukraine, the camps at Auschwitz and Birkinau, the Battle of Stalingrad, and the final days of the Nazi regime in Berlin.
Massive in scope, horrific in subject matter, and shocking in its protagonist, Jonathan Littell’s masterpiece is intense, hallucinatory, and utterly original. Critics abroad have compared this controversial work of literature to Tolstoy’s War and Peace and Vasily Grossman’s Life and Fate.
Due to the controversial subject matter as well as the high literary acclaim this book has received, the publisher of the book, Harper Collins, has created this blog as a centralized location for discussion, debate, reviews, and educational links related to The Kindly Ones. On a weekly basis, we the publisher will post excerpts from the book, interviews with the author, reviews as they come in, and news items related to the book and WWII history. We welcome your comments to the posted items.
The hope is to have a civil discussion, discover new perspectives about this important piece of literature, and deepen our understanding of the historical events described in the book. Please feel free to not only leave your own comments about the book but also provide links you feel will add to the discussion.
This blog is written by the editorial and marketing staff of Harper Collins.
(Please note: Harper Collins is not responsible for the content of the comments section of this blog and reserves the right to delete comments we deem inappropriate.)