Friday, February 27, 2009

Littell's Award-Winner Stirs Controversy

As the US and UK release date approaches, Jonathan Littell's The Kindly Ones continues to cause controversy. Originally published in France in 2006, this 983-page novel won the Prix Goncourt, France’s most prestigious literary award. The Literary Saloon continues to stay on top of the news, and has a good overview of the various positions important people are taking.

For example, Michiko Kakutani's review in the New York Times is decidedly negative:

The Kindly Ones [] reads like a pointless compilation of atrocities and anti-Semitic remarks, pointlessly combined with a gross collection of sexual fantasies. That such a novel should win two of France’s top literary prizes is not only an example of the occasional perversity of French taste, but also a measure of how drastically literary attitudes toward the Holocaust have changed in the last few decades.
The Literary Saloon could barely stomach the book, awarded it a grade of C-, and deems it "a mess." Most of the reactions to Littell's book, however, have been gushingly positive (see, e.g., Michael Korda's review at the Daily Beast). Beginning March 3rd, you can get your own copyand decide for yourself.

1 comment:

Harvey said...

After reading Kakutani's review, I have a hard time imagining what would make me want to read it.