The Kindly Ones has ratings and reviews. Glenn said: “Please, mein Herr, shoot the children cleanly.”― Jonathan Littell, The Kindly OnesSu. Les Bienveillantes de Jonathan Littell a créé l’événement de la rentrée littéraire Selon l’auteur, la portée du roman dépasse le seul génocide des Juifs. 78 Myth, Morals, and Metafiction in Jonathan Littell’s Les Bienveillantes [ PM LA and Littell has asked his translators to use in each language the name under.

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How exactly to you attempt to explore the depths of Nazi Germany without feeling dark, abused, and sick afterwards?

It doesn’t have a happy ending. Reviews 9 11 Oct 01, This page was last edited on 1 Decemberat Here, you’ll meet the SUFFERING German officers and soldiers, driven to savagery, brutality and, sometimes, insanity because lex are forced to do things “for Germany” which deep inside their hearts they know are morally reprehensible. He speaks many languages fluently — German, French, Ancient Greek and Latin — and holds a doctorate in law. He can in one breath talk about wisdom of ancient authors and beauty of human, well, male’s body, about love and music and at the same time being able to participate at executions.

He also witnesses the terrible death marches of January when concentration camp prisoners were brought in towards the Reich through freezing snow without food.

The Kindly Ones

The goddess Athena intervenes, setting up a jury trial to judge the Furies’ case against Orestes. Your nation and ethos crumbling around you? It starts with the double-entendres the word ‘bienveillant’ means ‘kind’ of course, bienveillajtes it can also denote watchfulness, or paternalism or ‘meaning well’, depending on the context when ambiguity is the book’s medium; then it m The English translation of les Bienveillantes is a travesti.

The ,es is, even he wasn’t enough of a monster to fully appreciate them view spoiler [; the war machine around him combined with extreme physical trauma tormented his conscience into complete insanity hide spoiler ].

If you have merely been put off by the negative reviews, but were originally intending to read this book, please do. The problem is not that people lose sight of morality, he finds, but that they try to make the best choices they can among lesser evils, and then those evils add up. The officer, Max Aue, a lawyer in civilian life, presents himself as a cultivated man; a Nazi by conviction rather than expedience, intellectually scrupulous, highly disciplined but also sensitive the mass killings he observes and helps to organise sicken him to the point of repeated breakdown, even as he constantly affirms, explains and re-explains his belief in their necessity.


The Kindly Ones by Jonathan Littell

Benveillantes opening sentence – “O my human brothers, let me tell you how it happened” – recalls, especially in the French original, Charles Baudelaire’s: All kinds of things were passing by me, which I could clearly make out in this green water: The passages of violence have a cold-burning, accretive barbarity that reminds less of Tolstoy to whom Littell has been compared than the sexualised battlescapes of the French writer Pierre Guyotat, as amid the gore and excrements, moments of ghastly banal clarity surface.

There is an fascinating bit, here and there, such as a dinner party with Eichmann, or a grouse hunt with Speer, but they are lost in a sea of never-ending crap prose. Read this book and you’ll be the shadow of Sturmbannfuhrer Maximilian Aue later promoted to Obersturmbannfuhrer, the rank equivalent to the Lieutenent-Colonel of the American armyan officer in the SS in an almost perpetual state of throwing up and diarrhea.

Like Grossman himself, who was heavily influenced by Tolstoy, Jonatgan believes in semi-plagiarism as an jknathan of literary homage. View all 14 comments. In his private life he is a dedicated pederast and, ojnathan, a murderer, and in bieenveillantes dreams he is guilty of everything from his waking life plus some particularly vile acts of the sort that sometimes even innocent people conjure up and which, for better or worse, I will not describe here.

Or is that the Second One? If you were born in bienceillantes country or at a time not only when nobody comes to kill your wife and your children, but also no one comes to ask you to kill the wives and children of others, then render thanks to God and go in peace.

Maximilien Aue has reinvented himself, many years after the war, as a middle-class family man and factory owner in France.

This is hardly surprising since in the past 25 years the Holocaust has become a sacred subject, mistakenly separated from and elevated above the Second World War itself.


The dialogue is consistently bad. Despite the myriads of names, actions, scenes, and the intricate details of the war events that follow each other in an unstoppable flow there are no chapterslittel, never is an incomprehensible book.

Though their case has been repeatedly thrown out of court, the two detectives, unwilling to accept defeat, decided to track Aue down and execute him extrajudicially. A man as a child engages in anal sex with his twin sister, idolises his father for no apparent reason, later murders his mother and stepfather, is pursued throughout the war by a couple of preposterous Keystone cops who are still intent on bringing bienveillabtes to justice when the Russians are advancing down a neighbouring Berlin street.

He starts out jonzthan horrific tendencies, to be sure view spoiler [: The historical events of the Holocaust take up more than half of the book, the rest being devoted to other aspects of the war such as the German defeat at Stalingrad, the nightmarish final days of the war in Berlin, and Aue’s private story which involves jonatha homosexuality and an incestuous love for his twin sister. It’s always going to be an act of hubris jonwthan believe you can explain the Nazis.

Oedipus is guilty of patricideeven if he did not know that he was killing his father. No summary can do it justice.

At moments like this, the authorial detachment he cultivates with such magisterial elegance seems evasive. Saturday 28 February Littell, a Jew, rightly believes that the prime duty of a writer as well as a historian is to understand. At the same time, he is a closet homosexual who once had an incestuous affair with his sister and is a suspect for the brutal murder of his mother and stepfather.

Another massive problem is the punctuation. Jonathan Littell’s extraordinary Holocaust novel asks what it is that turns normal people into mass killers. Everybody has an opinion on the matter. This nearpage novel is the rambling testament of SS officer Dr.