With its brilliant, frightening, furious, apocalyptic vision, The Kindly Ones is a literary tour de force, winner of the Prix Goncourt and other prizes and already an explosive bestseller across Europe, selling over 1 million copies. This Faustian story with a terrifying twist is the fictional memoir of Dr Max Aue, a former SS intelligence officer, who has reinvented himself as a family man and owner of a lace factory in post-war France. Max is an intellectual steeped in philosophy, literature, and classical music. He is also a cold-blooded assassin and the consummate bureaucrat, who speaks out now not in self-justification but to set the record straight. He looks back at his life with cool-eyed precision: from a disrupted childhood and a turning point in his student days, to his role as observer and then participant in Nazi atrocities on the Eastern Front, from Poland to the Caucasus; he is present at the siege of Stalingrad, at the death camps, and finally caught up in the rout of the Nazis and the nightmarish fall of Berlin. Although Max is a totally imagined character, his world is peopled by real historical figures such as Eichmann, Himmler, Goring, Speer, Heydrich, Hoss, and Hitler himself. Massive in scope, terrifying in subject matter, and shocking in its protagonist, Littell's masterpiece is intense, hallucinatory, and terrifyingly compelling. Described by Le Figaro as 'a monument of contemporary literature', this transgressive and controversial work of literature has been compared to classics of world literature, including War and Peace. A huge novel about the seductive enormity of evil, about the ineffable horror of war, about man's inhumanity and the malevolence of the Furies, this is a book that every thinking person should read and to which no one can be indifferent.
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Dr Max Aue is a family man and owner of a lace factory in post-war France. He is an intellectual steeped in philosophy, literature, and classical music. He is also a former SS intelligence officer and cold-blooded assassin. He was an observer and then a participant in Nazi atrocities on the Eastern Front, he was present at the siege of Stalingrad, at the death camps, and finally caught up in the overthrow of the Nazis and the nightmarish fall of Berlin. His world was peopled by Eichmann, Himmler, Goring, Speer and, of course, Hitler himself. Max is looking back at his life with cool-eyed precision; he is speaking out now to set the record straight.Review:
"It is a great achievement to have made this horrific tale recounted by such a profoundly unsympathetic character so gripping...a great work of literary fiction, to which readers and scholars will turn for decades to come" -- Anthony Beevor The Times "An extraordinarily powerful novel that leads the stunned reader on a journey through some of the darkest recesses of European history...reveals something that is desperate and depressing but profoundly important, now as ever" Observer "Everybody's talking about it...erudite, pitiless and mesmerising" Financial Times "A compelling and savage tale, with a cold dispassionate eye that never flinches from the raw reality of mass-murder... a serious attempt to describe the terrors of the Nazi regime" Independent "The book rises magnificently to its own occasions, building out of its fact-crammed but stately sentences a vast and phosphorescent tableaux vivants seething with Dantesque detail" Guardian
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