The Kindly Ones
Named one of the "100 Best Books of the Decade" by The Times of London
"Oh my human brothers, let me tell you how it happened."
A former Nazi 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-...more
…moreResembles closely "Die Abenteuer des Werner Holt" (The Adventures of Werner Holt) by Dieter Noll.
Unfortunately there is no English translation, but you must try if you know German.(less)
“Please, mein Herr, shoot the children cleanly.”
― Jonathan Littell, The Kindly Ones
Such a fiercely compelling novel, one of the most evil stories ever told. I had to 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 numerous.
The first-person narrator ...more
It's always going to be an act of hubris to believe you can explain the Nazis. The Kindly Ones purports to offer an insight into the transformation of an ordinary young man into a Nazi monster. Early on, Max Aue, the narrator, an SS Obersturmbannfürher, makes a case that all of us might have done what the Germans di ...more
So what's the most atrocious thing you've seen?... Man, of course!
The Kindly Ones polarized both readers and critics all over the world. They argued on its literary values and scandalous content, pornocaust or holokitsch were amongst epithets, felt poised between admiration for the gigantic work Littell done and themes he researched and final product and message it delivered. The genre itself confounded almost everyone, was it a history novel or quasi document, a literary fiction or fictionalize ...more
Τί είδους βιβλίο είναι αυτό.
Η μόνη απάντηση που μπορώ να δώσω μετά το ανθρωπολογικό τράνταγμα συνειδητοποίησης που υπέστη είναι πως πρόκειται για ένα βιβλίο το οποίο πάνω απο όλα αρνείται.
Αρνείται να δεχτεί, να απλοποιήσει, να κατηγορήσει,
να απενοχοποιήσει και να ταχθεί υπέρ ή κατά στ ...more
It is possible for human beings to justify all behaviour, no matter how irrational and cruel. Because this is so, some philosophers justify their view that moral norms must lie outside of human control, that there must be a God who knows what good behaviour is. This justification is also irrational and frequently just as cruel.
As for example when the philosophers and theologians of Nazism preached radical anti-Semitism based on universal genetic imperatives of ...more
-- Jonathan Littell, The Kindly Ones
This is a hard book to review. It is like walking out of a David Lynch movie and feeling brain raped by the artist. How exactly to you attempt to explore the depths of Nazi Germany without feeling dark, abused, and sick afterwards? From conversations I've had with those who've hated this novel (and British critics I've rea ...more
Fascism turned the Germany into a factory of death… And every factory must have an effective technology… So any technology must be perfected and the technology of murder as well.
Killing was a terrible thing; the reaction of the officers was a good proof of that, even if they didn’t all draw the consequences of their own reactions; and the man for whom killing was not a terrible thing, killing an armed man as we...more
The Publisher Says: "Oh my human brothers, let me tell you how it happened." So begins the chilling fictional memoir of Dr. Maximilien Aue, a former Nazi officer who has reinvented himself, many years after the war, as a middle-class family man and factory owner in France.
Max is 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 experi ...more
-Le Nouvel Observateur, taken from the back cover
“What is this shit?”
-A former French resistance fighter on this book, as quoted by Laurent Binet in The Millions
This is a book that could have been. There were brief flashes of fascination, tantalizing ideas, lost in an interminable sea of dreck.
The opening T ...more
Ao longo de mais de 800 páginas, em que Max Aue se atormentou e me atormentou, fui-lhe dando o benefício da dúvida; fui tentando justificar o seu comportamento pelo sofrimento que carregava desde a infância; pela dor atroz que um amor incestuoso, impossível, o condenou a viver. Subestimei as afirmações em que negava arrependimento ou remorsos, achei que o p ...more
Quest'estate, durante le mie vacanze estive, mi sono trovata a visitare il memorial site di Dachau. Giornata torrida, il campo scarsamente visitato, il silenzio imperante , la voce della testimonianza dei sopravvissuti nelle orecchie, non ho potuto fare a meno di pensare, al di là di qualsiasi considerazione etica: "Ma se l'obiettivo principale della guerra è vincere la guerra, come hanno potuto disperdere così tante energie e risorse nello sterminio?"
Per comprendere come effettivamente ...more
Se não te interpretasse bem estaria surdo e cego,
E embora entenda o que dizes ensombra-me o pensamento."
Robert Browning, "A Toccata of Galuppi's"
Jonathan Littell escreve um romance monumental sobre a Segunda Guerra Mundial. Embora seja filho de judeus, fá-lo sobre o ponto de vista dos nazis o que torna esta obra uma peça original e fascinante, quer pelo conteúdo histórico e humano, quer por abalar a consciência do leitor, obrigando-o a questionar-se ...more
La curiosità personale mi ha portato nel corso degli anni a leggere, tra le altre cose, molti libri sulla seconda guerra mondiale, sul nazismo e sull'olocausto. Ho purtroppo trovato la maggior parte di questi incompleti, perché si limitavano alla descrizione dell'effetto senza addentrarsi nella comprensione delle cause. Forse solo "Le origini culturali del Terzo Reich" di Mosse ha soddisfatto parzialmente la mia curiosità di capire ...more
The overarching historical plot works well. The protagonist, Maximili ...more
It starts with the double-entendres (the word 'bienveillant' means 'kind' of course, but it can also denote watchfulness, or paternalism or 'meaning well', depending on the context) when ambiguity is the book's medium; then it m ...more
Maximilian Aue is just a byproduct of this whole history, if you can believe it. He starts out with horrific tendencies, to be sure (view spoiler)[: incest from an extremely young age, coprophilia, murderous inclinations (hide spoiler)]. And ...more
Δε συνηθίζω να γράφω για βιβλία, αλλά το συγκεκριμένο όντως δεν έτυχε απήχησης στο ελληνικό κοινό, απορίας άξιο γιατί. Στο βιβλιοπωλείο μού είπαν πως το βρήκαν με δυσκολία. Με περίμενε κάποιους μήνες στο ράφι της βιβλιοθήκης: μόλις το πήρα στα χέρια μου ξεφύλλισα τις πρώτες σελίδες. Διαφαινόταν ένα πραγματικά αξιόλογο βιβλίο, αλλά ήθελα να το διαβάσω πιο ήρεμα, πιο συγκεντρωμένα.
Στην τραγωδία του ο Αισχύλος προσπαθεί να μετατρέψει τις γνωστές Ερινύες, τις άτεγκτες και τρομερές αυτές θεότητες, σε ...more
Dobro a zlo nejsou jednička a nula. ...more
Middle-aged French intellectual Jonathan Littell caused a sensation in 2006 with his infamous The Kindly Ones (finally published in the US for the first time in 2008), a thousand-page historical novel which attempts to take the most complicated look ever at what turned a bunch of otherwise boring, middle- ...more
Não resisto a transcrever aqui duas passagens ...more
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|Reading 1001: Questions Part 3||10||12||Oct 01, 2018 12:10AM|
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|Reading 1001: Questions Part 1||13||20||Sep 29, 2018 07:57PM|
|Reading 1001: This and That||20||19||Sep 15, 2018 04:11AM|
|loved it||12||56||Sep 05, 2017 06:34AM|
|Goodreads Italia: GdXL 10/2016 - 12/2016: Le Benevole||173||171||Dec 30, 2016 10:12AM|
His father is the writer Robert Littell, also resident in France and who authored numerous spy novels.