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Der Erlkönig

4.14 of 5 stars 4.14  ·  rating details  ·  878 ratings  ·  59 reviews

An international bestseller and winner of the Prix Goncourt, France's most prestigious literary award, The Ogre is a masterful tale of innocence, perversion, and obsession. It follows the passage of strange, gentle Abel Tiffauges from submissive schoolboy to "ogre" of the Nazi school at the castle of Kaltenborn, taking us deeper into the dark heart of fascism than any nove

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Paperback, 373 pages
Published 1984 by Fischer (first published 1970)
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Szplug
At a high point in a pivotal relationship formed during his refectory days in an alien French boy's school, Abel Tiffauges is told the gruesome apocryphal story of the Baron des Adrets' newfound awareness of cadent euphoria by the obese enigma Nestor. The crescendo is reached when the latter murmurs in coda that "There's probably nothing more moving in a man's life than the accidental discovery of his own perversion." Just how much truth this observation bore is revealed to Abel many years later ...more
Josh
Since The Ogre is a book obsessed with taxonomy, heraldry, classification of all kinds, I'll start by saying that the author MIchel Tournier most reminds me of is Thomas Mann. Mann's playful, ironic fictions seem to have fallen out of use these days (I for one can't get over Guy Davenport's comparison of him to James Joyce: "Mann imposes meaning; Joyce finds it; Mann looks for weakness in strength; Joyce, for strength in weakness. Mann's novels illustrate ideas; Joyce's return ideas to their ori ...more
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
This earned a star from me for the research and inventive musings the author had obviously done to do pedantic exhibitions about:

1. monsters;

2. the Aristotelian concept of "potency" (which he managed to tie up with the sexual act);

3. the two types of women, the "woman-trinket" (one who can be manipulated by men) and the "woman-landscape" ( one whom a man can only visit);

4. benign inversion (evil becoming good, sort of) and the malign inversion (the reverse);

5. euphoria, phoria ("to carry"), phor
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Jim Coughenour
The "ogre" of the title is Abel Tiffauges, a French mechanic who first appears a kind of autistic naif, strange rather than frightening in his obsessions (or perversions). It begins in France, 1938, in the years before Hitler's invasion — then as the war progresses, the setting moves eastward, into a winter-world of horror, and ultimately, transcendence — which I admit doesn't tell you much. It's an unusual, demanding novel; to my mind, a work of genius, unlike anything I've ever read, including ...more
Jacob Wren
Michel Tournier writes



There’s probably nothing more moving in a man’s life than the accidental discovery of his own perversion.



and:



The very perfection of its functioning and the terrible energy that went into it were enough to exclude him forever, but he knew no machinery is safe from a piece of grit, and that fate was on his side.



and:



The moth flies on wings of love toward the electric light bulb. And when he gets there, close to it, as near as he can be to that which attracts him irresistibly,
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Jim
If you wish to be an ogre, then it is very important that you not only be bullied mercilessly, but that you react by choosing someone completely unsuitable as a role model. This is what happens to Abel Tiffauges, the son of an auto mechanic, who despite his height is treated like dirt at a Catholic school and ends by inheriting his father's garage.

Along the way, he develops some strange ideas regarding children. While he is not a pederast and never even attempts to initiate any overt molestation
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*Dragonfly*
Dopada mi se kako su Svetlana i Franja Termacic preveli Turnijeov roman. Posebno je zanimljivo kako su resili nedoumicu oko naziva.

U francuskom originalu, roman je nazvan "Le roi des aulnes", doslovno prevedeno - Kralj jovà.

Posto su Termacici smatrali da takav naziv zvuci prilicno nespretno,
odlucili su se za Kralja Vilovnjaka i tako ucinili jasnom aluziju na Geteovu pesmu koja se pominje u romanu.

Dalje, "Le roi des aulnes" je francuski prevod pomenute Geteove pesme "Der Erlkönig".

Aleksa Santic j
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Tyler
Mar 15, 2010 Tyler rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People Who Collect Things
Recommended to Tyler by: Literary Award
At the end of this story one mystery lingers: Did something magical happen? “If you answer yes,” the book seems to say, “humans are inescapably haunted. If you answer no, people may be safe, but the cost will come elsewhere.” Either way I now see clearly why Prussia suddenly vanished.

What instigates the mystery is the protagonist. Abel Tiffauge is a fairly normal French guy despite thinking of himself as an “ogre” with his over-muscled shoulders. But what’s normal is relative. Who among us hasn’
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Kkneen
Hailed as the greatest living French writer, Tournier’s dark but amazing novel chronicles the life of a French citizen Abel Tiffauges, whose childhood obsession with an adolescent boy echoes throughout his life as a mechanic, a pigeon fancier and a soldier in Alsace. It is a book about the darkest sides of our natures and spans several countries and decades ending in Prussia during Hitler’s reign. This book won the coveted Prix Goncourt – the French Booker Prize.
BEST BOOK I HAVE READ IN YEARS
S.B.
Highly appropriate after just reading Gombrowicz and Sebald. I mean, if I was that kind of person I'd think it was 'meant to be.' Pointing towards some well-ordered sequence of events or something. It's a relief to know, in France at least, they still give awards to books that deserve them.
Peter
Like some others said: a beautiful and strange novel. I first read this book in the early 1990’s, and wanted to know if I would still find it as powerful and haunting some twenty years later (I did). Three comments though. One: the parts about the woods and the “hyperborean light” of the East Prussian heath are what’s it all about (the stuff about France is –in my opinion- a sort of very long though enjoyable prelude). The final two stages (Rominten and Kaltenborn) of Abel Tiffauges’ long eastwa ...more
Jani
When I picked up Keijujen kuningas (The Erl-King), I did not know much about it besides the heard fact that it was deeply steeped in the world of myths. This knowledge might have been a slight burden while reading, but then again added a certain type of awareness that added a level to the process. In any case, it did not at all hamper the reading experience.

In fact, it is tribute to Tournier's apparent skill as a writer that little did affect the readability. It was not affected by the protagoni
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Mikael Kuoppala
Disturbing an powerful, the Ogre takes the reader through the scary psychology of totalitarian thinking by exploring the mind of a Nazi scientist during WWII.

When Michel Tournier is mentioned to someone, you often hear comments like: "Isn't that the author who could only write about human sexual perversions?", but if you examine his work more deeply, you'll see that there is a lot more to his writing than that.

"The Ogre" is Tournier’s second novel. It begins by telling us the story of a French m
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Philippe Malzieu
Very difficult book. When I read this book, i'm complain to think to Hannah Arendt and banality of evil. This concept asks essential questions on the human nature. Eichmann was a small poor man, Tiffauge, "The ogre" also. The black part of inhuman is placed in each one of us . In a totalitarian mode, those which choose achieve the most monstrous activities are not so different from those which think of being unable about it.
It is the discomfort of the book. The title comes from a poême of Goeth
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Deanne
Very hard book to get into, and I found it difficult to feel anything for the hero, it's a good premise with the main character travelling around Germany Tec during WWII, as both a prisoner and working for various men in history, but nothing really seems to happen.
Mika Auramo
Michel Tournierin romaani Keijujen kuningas on napakymppi myyttien kyllästämän todellisuuden ystäville. Kun vielä kirjailija yhdistää siihen legendaarisen Goethen runon, pähkähullun ranskalaisen päähenkilön ja syväluotauksen natsi-ideologiaan, jännittävä lukuseikkailu voi alkaa.

Niin kuin elävässä elämässä ja monissa kirjoissa, päähenkilöiden lapsuudenkokemukset, pelot, ystävät ja muu lähipiiri vaikuttavat ratkaisevasti elämänkulkuun. Abel Tiffauges -niminen nuorukainen ammentaa yhä sairaalloisek
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Max
A fantastically interesting novel.

Plan for a bit of a slog through the marshes at the beginning. The book alternates between the reflective writing of the main character and a narrative. The first 100 or so pages are the reflective writing and are quite a bit more dense.

A book worthy of a detailed read. If you find the beginning a bit dense, you will lose a fraction, but not all of the story by skipping to judicial events roughly 100 pages in.

This book will be disturbing, but book club members
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Jesse
Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.
blake
It's a rare thing to open a book and encounter a voice so original and commanding that you at once know it will be one of the most memorable stories you've ever read. Thus opens The Ogre, with the perverse journaling of the titular Abel Tiffauges, uttering things so bizarre and disturbing that you're at once repulsed and captivated to continue reading. Even the typeface, at least in my edition, contributes to the feeling -- the letters are ever-so-slightly off-center, so that certain letters dro ...more
Czarny Pies
Nov 13, 2014 Czarny Pies rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers or German Culture or French Literature.
Recommended to Czarny by: I saw Bernard Pivot interview Tournier on Apostrophses
Shelves: french-lit, favorites
Michel Tournier's Der Erlekonig(a.k.a. The Ogre, a.k.a Le roi des aulnes) accomplishes the remarkable feat of making the reader feel even queasier than does the poem by Goethe from which it takes its name.

I still recall reading Goethe's poem in my last year of High School surrounded by old friends. The Erlekonig is the ogre of the alders lurking in the trees waiting to grab and kill children. In Goethe's poem a child is riding with his father who is driving his horse at a furious gallop hoping t
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Leen
Ik heb mijn tanden stukgebeten op De elzenkoning, maar ’t is uit. Het is uit! Ik ben er vanaf! Het was nog eens een Blufboek, want die lijst wordt maar niet korter, want onbewust of eigenlijk zeer bewust mijd ik de boeken, Literatuur met een grote L, van de lijst omdat ze stuk voor stuk moeilijk zijn.
Weloverdacht in elkaar gevlochten schrijfsels zonder al te veel gevoel, zwaardere thema’s, te veel symboliek, ge moet uw hoofd erbij houden of ge struikelt over zinnen. Het is spartelen om in het ve
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Marc
A very special kind of book, there's no doubt about that. But I don't know what to feel about it.
The first third is a mix of diary-excerpts, memories and reveries, especially about the youth of Abel Tiffauges, a crippled garageholder in Paris. It's difficult reading, but it's clear enough Tiffauges looks at reality in a very strange way, with special attention to young children (yes, indeed); he sees himself as "childbearer", and Saint Christopher his patron-saint; but a girlfriend refers to th
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carl  theaker
Saw the not well known flic 'The Ogre' with John Malchovich, which is based
on this book, which has inspirations from the Goethe poem 'The Erl-King'.
The book is situated just before and during WWII, both are pretty good.

Author Tournier appears to be a French Gunter Grass. He uses the protagonist,
a simplistic Frenchman Tiffauges, to view the Reich in a sentimental fashion,
allowing him to critique his own country (France) a bit.

Tiffauges, a mechanic in Paris 1938, injures his hand so while taking s
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Danielle Tremblay
Ce roman a pour thème la pédérastie, mais comme toute œuvre de Michel Tournier, tout est en symboles et en métaphores. Aucune société ne s'est réellement souciée d'analyser et d'établir la nature profonde de la pédérastie. Michel Tournier a pris la place de la société démissionnaire en analysant avec son habituelle finesse et sa sensibilité, cette nature particulière. Il lui a même donné un sens et un rôle : la phorie.

(view spoiler)
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alessandra falca
Difficile leggere tutto, dopo Proust. Allora ho scelto un libro complicato. Scomodo e a tratti pesante. Tournier è stato spesso tacciato di pedofilia proprio per questo libro pur avendo vinto nel 1970 il premio Goncourt, con questo romanzo che, infine, è da leggere.
Per come dipinge i tedeschi, il nazismo, la follia mortale dell'olocausto. Per come è torbido e come nello stesso tempo il protagonista si muove su quel filo che alla fine ti fa stare dalla sua parte. Perché, nella sua primitività, r
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James
The Ogre tells the story of a man who recruits children to be Nazis in the belief that he is protecting them. The novel received the Prix Goncourt. Volker Schlöndorff directed a 1996 film, based on the novel, with the title The Ogre.
Michel Tournier’s novel is an unsettling work that relies on a range of narrative strategies to achieve its effects. Notable among these is the alternation between first-and third-person narration. The book opens with the “Sinister Writings” of the protagonist, Abel
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Editorial Alfaguara
Una gran novela... Cubre simultneamente los acontecimientos internos de una mente y los de un continente. THE NEW YORKER El Rey de los Alisos, la novela con la que Michel Tournier obtuvo el Premio Goncourt, narra la historia de Abel Tiffauges, un extrao prisionero francs en la Alemania del II Reich, mezcla de ogro depredador y adolescente perverso, que se siente predestinado para llevar a cabo una misin en Prusia, cuna legendaria de la nacin alemana. El celebrado autor de Medianoche de amor nos ...more
Lubov Yakovleva
Стёклышки от бутылок, если подносить их к глазам,
сдвигают вещи со своих мест, расширяя, добавляя в
пространство эффект гладкости, мутности, непрозрачности.

Смотреть в стёклышки захватывающе, это простой способ сменить
свою реальность,
вдруг надоела.

Книга Турнье - то же битое стекло, с мягкими, сладкими краями,
излизанными морем.
Catfat
Un roman plein de symboles qui s'imbriquent les uns dans les autres, se renversent se répondent s'annulent et s'additionnent. Une écriture de gaucher au service des phantasmes pedophiles d'un géant despote, le destin d'un homme sans amour qui rayonne d'amour en transcendant ses désirs déviants. D'une beauté sauvage et folle.
Matthew Walker
Engrossing French novel charting the rise of its hero from a submissive schoolboy to a Nazi commander.
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Michel Tournier is a French writer.

His works are highly considered and have won important awards such as the Grand Prix du roman de l'Académie française in 1967 for Vendredi ou les limbes du Pacifique. and the Prix Goncourt for Le Roi des aulnes in 1970. His works dwell on the fantastic, his inspirations including traditional German culture, Catholicism, and the philosophies of Gaston Bachelard. H
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More about Michel Tournier...
Friday, or, The Other Island Vendredi ou les limbes du Pacifique Gemini The Four Wise Men La goutte d'or

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