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The Kindly Ones
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Diane Zwang | 1312 comments Mod
Any comments or questions you like to add put here. We welcome any and all discussion. Happy reading.


Diane Zwang | 1312 comments Mod
Littell Interview with Samuel Blumenfeld. I found this interesting. May contain spoilers. https://thekindlyones.wordpress.com/l...


Diane Zwang | 1312 comments Mod
I enjoyed this article on the book. Depending on what country the book critic was from the reviews vary widely. This article does contain spoilers. http://www.vulture.com/2009/03/the_ki...


message 4: by Melissa (new)

Melissa Do we have a reading schedule for this one?


message 5: by Claire (new) - added it

Claire  | 13 comments Diane wrote: "I enjoyed this article on the book. Depending on what country the book critic was from the reviews vary widely. This article does contain spoilers. http://www.vulture.com/2009/03/the_ki..."

Loved this article. Makes me curious!


message 6: by Diane (last edited Jul 08, 2018 08:23AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Diane Zwang | 1312 comments Mod
Melissa wrote: "Do we have a reading schedule for this one?"

Hi Melissa,
Sorry I just saw your post. I did not make a reading schedule by month. The book is some 900 pages so about 300 pages per month. As I am reading the book, there are very few chapters or stopping points for that matter. Hope that helps. Let me ask Kristel if she has a good idea for a reading schedule.


Diane Zwang | 1312 comments Mod
I read in the LA Times yesterday that French documentarian Claude Lanzmann died. One of the films that he is most famous for is Shoah a 10 hour documentary on the Holocaust.

The Guardian article: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2018...

NY Times article:
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/05/ob...

I plan on watching Shoah after I finish the book.


message 8: by Melissa (new)

Melissa Nope, that’s fine. It’s just enough to keep me on track. I noticed the same after I posted and looked at what few chapters there were.


Kristel (kristelh) | 4248 comments Mod
There is 975 pages and a glossary and a table of German Ranks with approximate American Equivalents in the actual hardback book.

So For July, goal would be to read 325 pages. There really are no chapters in this book and page 325 about in the middle of a section that begins with "The investigation confirmed that the villagers had said about the death of Leutnant Dr. Voss. to the end of the section ending with "It was almost as if I had gone over to the other side, to that country that children know well, from which no one returns.

August: 325 to 650

September 651 to the end.

If anyone wants a glossary term, let me know and I will look it up.


Diane Zwang | 1312 comments Mod
Have you started the book? If so what are your first impressions?


Diane Zwang | 1312 comments Mod
Diane wrote: "Have you started the book? If so what are your first impressions?"

I have read just a little over a 100 pages. This is unlike any book I have read before. I think the unique storytelling style is what made it on the list. The detachment of some horrific things makes me sick to my stomach, especially with the children. I think this is going to be a difficult read for me.


message 12: by Melissa (new)

Melissa Not yet, I just started Schindler’s List, for our mail book group...so I’m planning on starting this right after. I think it will make it an even tougher read, but that they should ‘compliment’ each other well.


Kristel (kristelh) | 4248 comments Mod
I am on page 119, so about 12 %. I am listening to it though now have the book as well. I think audio takes some of the horror away for me, reading is more difficult but listening, you just whiz on by. I do think this is exactly how horrible things do come about.

The music that you mentioned is interesting. I did not pick up on that when listening. The use of music reminds me of other books like Dance to the Music of Time and Proust book, also about time. Music is an interesting concept that lends itself well to literature.


message 14: by Gail (new) - rated it 4 stars

Gail (gailifer) | 1533 comments I am only on page 73. I had to reread the first chapter as it was so overwhelming and I had to really think about the questions the narrator brought up. I am struggling with the level of detail and the fact that the reader is surrounded by names and titles and places while not being given a broader context other than the first chapter. It isn't until page 50 or so that you learn the narrator's name. It is definitely unique and I am carrying on.


message 15: by Pip (last edited Jul 30, 2018 11:35AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pip | 1473 comments I wrote something which seems to be lost, so forgive me if I am repeating myself. I have carted the fat paperback (courtesy of Jen) with me on and off trains throughout Europe. When I was exploring Dresden and thinking of the firestorm I began reading it. When in Latvia and Lithuania I was reading about what had happened to them much of which was similar to what happened in Ukraine.


message 16: by Liz M (new) - added it

Liz M | 194 comments I have started this book three times. The lack of chapters meant that I was having trouble reading it in smaller doses, so I finally decided to put it off until I was on vacations this week.

I am maybe 200 pages in and the writing style is distancing. The narrator rattles off names and locations very matter-of-fact, as if he was writing his memoirs just for himself -- no need to provide context. So, I am finding it slower going; my mind wanders off and I have to go back and reread pages. And them in midst of all this mundane litany, there is an occasional horrific event.


Diane Zwang | 1312 comments Mod
Liz M wrote: "I have started this book three times. The lack of chapters meant that I was having trouble reading it in smaller doses, so I finally decided to put it off until I was on vacations this week.

I am ..."


Liz, sorry to hear you are struggling with the book. I too found the lack of chapters frustrating. I just ended up reading a page goal daily. The writing style is very different and distant is a good way to describe it. The occasional horrific event will continue throughout the book. I am almost done so it can be conquered. Good luck.


Kristel (kristelh) | 4248 comments Mod
Here are some passages that I flagged while reading. There is a lot in this book and while it is a torture to read, especially the bad sex, etc, there is also a lot of great philosophical commentary.

Page 285, 3 attitudes. 1)refuses to see life as a joke, 2) life is a joke, 3) know that life is a joke but who suffers from it.

Page 300, race, scientifically indefinable--without theoretical value.

Page 329 Contrasts National Socialism and Communism

Page 393 Systems. "Christians preferred, no doubt out of jealousy, to let themselves be paganized and to turn against the witnesses of truth, to their own misfortune."

Page 454. National Socialism was coined by a Jew. Moses Hess. (a French Jewish Philosopher and founder of Labor Zionism. Socialist theories of racial struggle.) Moses Law (Bible) to separate the Jew from other people to keep them pure.

Page 590. "if man is a certainly not, as some poets and philosophers have made him out to be, naturally good, he is not naturally evil, either; good and evil are categories that can serve to qualify the effects of the actions of one man on another; but they are, in my opinion, fundamentally unsuitable, even unusable, to judge what goes on in the heart of that man."

Page 591. Law must refer to an authority outside of man, a power that man feels is superior."


Chinook | 282 comments One thing I’m noticing is that he’s having a lot of physical responses to what’s happening around him, which I read as physical manifestations of his guilt and horror. It seemed to start when he’s in the forest the first time and notices a bunch of tiny splinters and then goes on to his constant vomiting and diarrhea.

He says at the beginning that he doesn’t feel guilty, but I’m not sure I believe his assertion. It seems to me that he’s having a very hard time accepting what’s happening.


Kristel (kristelh) | 4248 comments Mod
Chinook wrote: "One thing I’m noticing is that he’s having a lot of physical responses to what’s happening around him, which I read as physical manifestations of his guilt and horror. It seemed to start when he’s ..."
I agree that his vomiting and diarrhea are results of his guilt or at least exposure to things he doesn’t like personally which is not the same as guilt. I don’t remember the splinters exactly but he does “notice” things.


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