Monday, March 23, 2009

Hottest literary event of the season

Jonathon Littell's The Kindly Ones

The Kindely Ones is a holocaust novel by an American who wrote the book in French. In French alone it has sold more than 800,000 copies and walked off with the Prix Goncourt and Grand Prix du Roman. Spanish writer Jorge Semprun, who was on the Goncourt jury, described it as “the literary event of the half-century.” It has been praised for its breadth and grasp of the events of the Second World War.

A 975 pages of dense text, often with a single paragraph forming a veritable wall of type that extends over several pages. Jonathon Littell, the writer, wanted it this way: “The text must consist of great blocks, blocks that are suffocating to the reader, who must not be able to get through them too easily.”

But as one critic puts it: The Kindly Ones,” is a nearly bottomless cocktail of gleefully pornographic violence and philosophical rumination.

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