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The Order of the Day

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  5,776 ratings  ·  820 reviews
Winner of the 2017 Prix Goncourt Eric Vuillard's gripping novel The Order of the Day tells the story of the pivotal meetings which took place between the European powers in the run-up to World War Two. What emerges is a fascinating and incredibly moving account of failed diplomacy, broken relationships, and the catastrophic momentum which led to conflict.

The titans of Germ
Paperback, 144 pages
Published July 28th 2020 (first published May 3rd 2017)
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Average rating 3.90  · 
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Diane S ☔
Oct 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
On March 12th, 1933 the wealthy heads of German industry gather to pledge their support and money to Adolp Hitler. Greed, pure greed but without them and most importantly the money the pledged, the Holocaust would never have happened, Hitler wouldn't have come to be the Fuhrer.

Chilling, but the ironies continue. The saying, however, it goes, the one that supposed that without the horse, the kingdom would have been lost, can be used here. If just one thing had been different, one powerful person
Sean Barrs
The Order of the Day is a concise novel that challenges perceptions of history and time; it's driven by black comedy through which Vuillard demonstrates that history is written to fit an agenda, and that agenda is not always to tell the truth.

The Nazi takeover of Austria was not as clean as the media (the Nazi media) told the world at the time. Underneath the warm welcoming the Nazi’s received when they entered the country, was years of political scheming, assassinations and manipulations. Eric
Jun 01, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: france, 2018-read
Winner of the Prix Goncourt 2017
I am starting to see a pattern in contemporary French lit: While Didier Eribon and Édouard Louis are turning sociology into literature, Laurent Binet and Éric Vuillard are turning history into literature - and as all science operates with language, this widespread exploration of the permeable border between fact and fiction is truly intriguing. While the idea is not entirely new (think of Golo Mann's Wallenstein: His Life Narrated), the paths these authors choose
Sam Quixote
Eric Vuillard recounts certain scenes from the 1930s during Hitler’s rise to power: German business titans giving money to fund his political campaigns, Hitler bullying Austrian Chancellor Schuschnigg into agreeing to the Anschluss, and Neville Chamberlain and co.’s failed attempts at appeasement.

This isn’t fiction; this is narrative history. So why does the blurb describe this as a “novel” and how did it win the 2017 Prix Goncourt, France’s highest literary prize for fiction?

Well, possibly fo
Nov 03, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-war-two
I am not sure what this book is meant to be. It has been described as a novel, possibly a historical novel: or could it be just plain history. The author refers to it as a “recit”, a sort of historical essay with a few extras. One of the purposes of the author is to warn: “Great catastrophes often creep up on us in tiny steps”.
Vuillard looks at the meeting in February 1933 between Hitler and 24 leading German industrialists, with names that are still prominent today in big business (Siemens, Kr
Apr 27, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
A short, filmic and claustrophobic account of the slippery slope towards the Anschluss
Éric Vuillard narrates the slippery slope and sliding scales the businessmen of Germany, the chancellor of Austria and prime minister Chamberlain find themselves on in their dealings with the Nazi's on their rise to absolute power.

The scenes are short and snappy, filmic.
We have a brilliant scene with Ribbentrop (who was renter with Chamberlain during his tenor as ambassador to England) delaying the British pri
[3.5] What is the purpose of novels like this one, with stories that stick closely to real historical events?

I can only suppose that here, one purpose was to relate history in a style different from a serious non-fiction history book. And, if you are not otherwise very interested in the minutiae of the events, and don't object to the addition of the occasional sneeze, speculation on how a historical figure felt, and conversations about [classical] music politicians were known to like, it makes
In “L’ordre du jour” ("The Order of the Day", 2017) in 10 scenes Eric Vuillard sketches how the Nazi's from 1933 onwards came to alter the fate of the world and how the weakness of their opponents fostered them. The scenes are largely fictionalized history, a genre that I can appreciate as long as it is applied in a balanced way and with respect for the facts. But Vuillard regularly shies away from historical truth (for example, the amateuristic way the German army proceeded in the annexation of ...more
Nov 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“The sun is a cold star.”
Mar 15, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book deals with 2 infamous episodes of the nazi saga: the willing cooperation of most great German industrialists with Hitler's regime, and Hitler's annexation of his native Austria to the Reich. Vuillard concentrates on a few characters, some very well-known like Chamberlain, some less familiar to Western readers like the Austrian president Miklas. What these people have in common is that they all behaved badly. Whether they were corrupt, cowardly, more or less delusional or totally cynica ...more
Oct 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The french authors did it again. After Enard's "Parle-leur de batailles, de rois ..." or Foenkinos' "Charlotte" comes from France another winner with a very lyrical and highly emotional book.
This is history telling 2.0. It is a book to read slowly, to think about each paragraph, to enjoy. There are so many informations and details, I found myself searching for dates, facts, photos, names, even the star signs those Nazis have been born under (hahahaha). I learned very much history in only 4 days

Basically a retelling of the beginning of Second World War with sarcastic commentary.
Nov 13, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Finished: 13 November 2017
Genre: historical fiction
Score C
Trivia: Winner of Prix Goncourt 2017....and just 160 pages?
Review: This was a quick read even in French.
Is it me? This book is nothing more than a re-telling
of history with a 'writer's flair' to help the reader
envisage what is happening:
...nervous men twisting gold wedding bands
...eager Austrians standing on tippy -toes to watch the
Germans steamroll into their country
...tick-tock waiting for a telegram from Austrian
President Miklas who
February 1933: 24 German captains of industry meet with Hitler to consider the advantages of a Nazi government. I loved the pomp of the opening chapter: “Through doors obsequiously held open, they stepped from their huge black sedans and paraded in single file … they doffed twenty-four felt hats and uncovered twenty-four bald pates or crowns of white hair.” As the invasion of Austria draws nearer, Vuillard recreates pivotal scenes featuring figures who will one day commit suicide or stand trial ...more
Brendan Monroe
A friend and I were chatting the other day about the latest Trump scandal. I would tell you what it was, except I can't remember because it's no longer the latest — there have been about five more in the past week.

The point is, as bad as Trump is — I'm just taking it for granted that as an intelligent, well-read individual, you agree with me on that point — imagine how much WORSE he would be if he were actually competent.

Because that's the irony. Trump clearly admires authoritarians. This is t
Stef Smulders
Jan 07, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humbug
Eric Vuillard is an imposter who has written a fake history of a very serious event of the 20th century: the German annexation of Austria in 1938. In interviews the author says he invented very little in his ‘récit’, which is a popular new genre of literature in France and suggests he has done a lot of research in archives to delve up several unknown facts about the Anschluss. This turns out to be nonsense for the most part. One only has to do a little research to find out, as I did. Unfortunate ...more
Eddie Clarke
May 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, fiction, foyles
If you studied History in school you will be very familiar with the sad procession of escalating events in the 1930s which led to WWII. This brief book is that same list of events retold with a novelist's narrative skill, observation, imagination, and psychological insight. The effect is emotionally fresh and powerful.

Vuillard's technique is to sidle up on the climactic meetings sideways, looking at them in unfamiliar and experiential ways. He frequently foregrounds comic elements, using them to
My advice is to skip this book

Its hard to imagine a more disappointing book. The claim it won an award, the 2017 Prix Goncourt, really would make me question the validity of this award. This book, I guess is mostly about the Austrian Anschluss (annexation) by Nazi Germany in 1939. Yet honestly I’m not entirely certain as it wandered a lot between various aspects of Nazi history and contemporary times. To even call this a history is a little circumspect as well since no sources are cited, and no
Aug 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
Somewhere between 3.5 and 4 stars

First thing I can say is that I can definitely tell this book was written by a Frenchman. It’s poetic and incorporates details and a lot of metaphors. It’s a series of small vignettes that make up a larger historical event, in this case The Anschluss and the onset of WWII.

It was a rather quick read and it did give me insight into events that I really don’t know much about, but minus a lot of the hard facts and more of the emotions and personalities. While beautif
May 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Order of the Day is a brilliant, extraordinary and disturbing book. It provides a powerful and angry look into the rise of fascism and the behind the scenes manipulations that lead to the Anschluss of Austria into Nazi Germany on 12 March 1938. Vuillard chillingly shows how the enablers, from heads of German corporations, to corrupt politicians, and foreign powers did absolutely nothing to stop the Nazis. This is a slim powerful masterpiece that needs to be read. Highly recommended.
I would have given 3 stars to this book but as it is a Goncourt and not worth it, I deduct 1 star. A disgrace for the jury!!!
Aug 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I only wish I was fluent enough in French to read this book as it was originally written. Something was definitely lost in translation. But still, this book lives up to its hype. A thorough re-examining of the German military-industrial complex in the years leading up to WW2. At times haunting, the author paints a picture of significant events leading to Britain standing alone against Nazi oppression. A very satisfying read.
Laura Hoffman Brauman
3.5 stars. I'm not sure how I would classify this book - literary history seems as close to a genre as I could come up with. Vuillard tells of the events leading to the Anschluss- the annexation of Austria into Germany. It opens with a meeting in 1933 with the Nazi party basically telling 24 of the heads of the most powerful corporations in Germany to cough up $ to ensure smooth sailing for their businesses. And they did. It ends with a discussion on how much these companies, most of whom are st ...more
Vuk Trifkovic
I can't see how on earth this, I guess I'll call it micro-novella could have won a Goncourt. It's not the brevity that it is a problem. It's just an utterly unilluminating approach it takes.
Sep 02, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-read
Actual rating: 2.50
Aug 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
A very interesting and thought provoking read for anyone interested in WWII and the events leading up to the conflict. While a short & quick book to finish, it will make you look deeper than many a longer book. ...more
Jun 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This petit book is something between a novel and an essay with literary embellishments, chronicling the lead-up to the second world war. It presents us with a series of tableaux, essentially, from the timespan between the National Socialist Party's accession to power and through to the Anschluss -- the annexation of Austria.

The book starts off by taking us behind the scenes at a meeting between the Nazi leaders and 24 of the most important men in German industry. The industrial lords are happil
Feb 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Historical fiction is often presented in the cold light of objectivity, with authors content with merely letting the facts (as we know them) speak. They are often unwilling (or unable) to take sides. This is a perfectly reasonable way to do things - it is a way of transporting the reader into that past and make her or him understand the motivations of those actors of history which have been caricaturised by the passing of time. To write historical fiction is often an act of bravado, a grand clai ...more
Nov 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: histfic
Vuillard's Prix Goncourt-winning novel is so short (160 pages) that I feel I'd be justified in making anything I wrote about it commensurately shorter. (Although I realise that, by its grace, I've managed to participate in Novellas In November.) It is, more or less, fiction, but you could be forgiven for reading it as a kind of chatty, intimate history; there is no protagonist, and no narrator save for an omniscient voice that has somewhat the flavour of Thackeray's knowing asides to the reader. ...more
Tom Mooney
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This stunning, mesmerising short novel (really it's more like 'opinionated non-fiction') attacks the received wisdom that history is inevitable and that our collective certainties are truth.

Through a series of embellished set pieces Vuillard, a French film-maker and novelist, brings us the catastrophic lead-up to WW2.

There are legendary funding drives at meetings between Hitler and the titans of German industry, the intimidation of the Austrian hierarchy, lunches between Chamberlain and a Nazi f
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Born in Lyons in 1968, Éric Vuillard is a French author and film director. His books include Conquistadors (winner of the Ignatius J. Reilly prize 2010), and La Bataille de l'occident and Congo, for both of which he was awarded the 2012 Franz-Hessel prize and the 2013 Valery-Larbaud prize. Sorrow of the Earth is the first of his titles to be translated into English.

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“e never fall twice into the same abyss. But we always fall the same way, in a mixture of ridicule and dread. We so desperately want not to fall that we grapple for a handhold, screaming. With their heels they crush our fingers, with their beaks they smash our teeth and peck out our eyes. The abyss is bordered by tall mansions. And there stands History, a reasonable goddess, a frozen statue in the middle of the town square. Dried bunches of peonies are her annual tribute; her daily gratuity, bread crumbs for the birds.” 2 likes
“The sun is a cold star.” 0 likes
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