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Rave ferita Dopo il rientro in Germania lavora a stretto contatto con tutta la gerarchia nazionalsocialista La guerra è ormai persa tuttavia e la Wehrmacht arretra su tutti i fronti Al crepuscolo del nazismo viene in aiuto a Max il suo bilinguismo assumendo l'identità di un francese deportato in Germania riesce a fuggireTrascinato dalla corrente della Storia e inseguito da fantasmi che come le furie benevole dei Greci le Eumenidi cercano vendetta Max Aue è parte di noi la parte più nera. The Kindly Ones is an unsentimental journey to the darkest side of the human history Fascism turned the Germany into a factory of death And every factory must have an effective technology So any technology must be perfected and the technology of murder as wellKilling was a terrible thing the reaction of the officers was a good proof of that even if they didn t all draw the conseuences of their own reactions and the man for whom killing was not a terrible thing killing an armed man as well as an unarmed man and an unarmed man as well as a woman and her child was nothing but an animal unworthy of belonging to a community of men But it was possible that this terrible thing was also a necessary thing and in that case we had to submit to this necessity Our propaganda repeated over and over again that the Russians were Untermenschen sub humans but I refused to believe thatThe novel is an uncompromising story of fascism starting with its bloodthirsty snarl at humanity and ending with its agony and rigor mortis Ideology can pitilessly transform an ordinary man into a killing machine and use it until this machine breaksBut even in such inhumanly perfect society as fascist state there are corruption intrigues hatred and fear and they keep destroying the power from within And the rest of humankind started destroying fascism from without So what s the most atrocious thing you ve seen He waved his hand Man of course I meant medically Medically atrocious things don t interest me in the least On the other hand one does see extraordinary curiosities which completely revise our notions of what our poor bodies can endure What for example Well a man will catch a tiny piece of shrapnel in the calf that will slice through the peroneal artery and he ll die in two minutes still standing his blood emptied into his boot without his noticing Yet another man might take a bullet through the head from one temple to the other and will get up on his own to walk to the first aid post What an insignificant thing we are I commented Precisely War is a most atrocious evil and it is capable to lower human being to the primordial animal state so humans become monsters beasts and cattle

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Les Bienveillantes

Nell'Europa travolta dalla furia nazista l'epopea tragica ed efferata di un ufficiale dell SS Maximilien Aue ci fa rivivere gli orrori della guerra dal punto di vista terribile e ripugnante dei carneficiNato in Alsazia da patre tedesco e madre francese Maximilien Aue dirige sotto falso nome una fabbrica di merletti nel nord della Francia Svolge bene il suo lavoro è un uomo preciso ed efficiente Preciso ed efficiente del resto lo era stato anche negli anni del nazismo uando fra e aveva fatt. Lugging this gigantic book around from Omaha to Minneapolis to Dubai to Chicago back to Omaha I began to uestion why I was reading it It s nearly a thousand pages long it s poorly translated it was apparently edited by a monkey dying of Ebola it has paragraphs that run on for pages and pages and pages for some reason there is no indentation for dialogue so you re left guessing which indistinguishable character is saying which facilestiltedclichedboring thing the translation is imprecise and the overuse of the semicolon is rampant In the end the unasked uestion why are you reading this is answered by a phrase provided me by the US Supreme Court s case law on obscenity it appealed to my prurient interest The Kindly Ones is an ambitious wreck It s a hot mess but with aspirations It s opening line Oh my human brothers let me tell you how it happened smacks of Homer Indeed right up until the penultimate chapter I was halfway enjoying it The novel told in first person my SS officer Maximilien Aue attempts to encompass the whole horror of the Holocaust Like a sadistic bloodstained Forrest Gump Aue bounces from einsatz aktions in the Caucuses there is a grim depiction of the massacre at Babi Yar to the winter hell of Stalingrad to the concentration camps of Auschwitz and finally to Hitler s bunker and the twilight of the gods I heard of this book by way of its controversy It was a big hit in France which should forever lay to rest any lingering belief that the French know anything about art Here in America it was severely panned by none other than Michiko Kakutani When she described its unsavory elements murder incest sodomy unrelenting gore I knew I had to purchase this work immediatelyAt first through about 850 pages I thought the controversy was a whole lot of nothing Yes there were some graphic passages especially dealing with the einsatzkommandos slaughtering thousands of Jews and other undesirables by firing suad Yet this is what good historical fiction does it takes us to that place in time In this instance that place and time is unimaginably dark but that doesn t mean that some light shouldn t be shed I thought the recreation of the Belorussian slaughter was powerful I also thought there were some clever moments as when Aue meets a Caucasian peasant who has been gifted with the ability to have all memories at once The peasant leads Aue to the mountain summit where Aue is supposed to kill him For the most part though the book was and I hate to say the word dull Hannah Arendt was right evil is banal The book is filled with non characters There are names a veritable who s who of Nazi Germany with cameos by Himmler Kaltenbrunner Speer Eichmann and Mengele For the most part though they remain names an undifferentiated mass 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 There are lengthy turgid passages on Caucasian languages and a dense meandering conversation about the similarities between Bolshevism and Fascism Also there are endless mentions of poop Its smell Aue s need to evacuate his bowels detailed descriptions of said evacuation etc I ve never been exposed to such scatological descriptions and hope never to be again Still nothing too loopy Sure Aue is in love with his twin sister with whom he had an incestuous relationship but this dark angle is not dwelt upon in relation to how much Aue dwells on poop And he also may or may not have killed his mother but this is just soap drama I started to think that Michiko might have been wrong Where is the sick depraved stuff that lured me in and just to editorialize a little I feel that many of these book reviews are very regressive when it comes to sexuality just because Aue is a homosexual does not make him deviant there is an underlying whiff of homophobia in many of the pans I ve read Then at page 865 I came to that chapter Suffice it to say it involves a lot of auto asphyxiation masturbation and defecation I could ve done without that Moreover this all occurs while the Russians are encircling Berlin With the whole nation collapses Aue manages to get vacation time so he can spend some time with himself That stretches credulity In fact the whole endgame of this enormous book is terrible Everything falls apart There isn t a single believable instance Anthony Beevor I m surprised at you for suggesting this book It s not just that Aue is led to Hitler s bunker and does something completely ridiculous it s that in the final pages all the main characters somehow meet each other Really The Russians are pouring into the city bombs are bursting mortar rounds are exploding buildings are burning bullets are whistling yet everyone manages to come together for a final bloody denouement This utter collapse the same malady affecting The Dark Knight really ruined things for me For as I said up till that time this book has a lot of interesting things to offer There are vivid nightmarish descriptions that would make Dante proud There is a strangely beautiful ghastly scene in which Aue goes swimming in the Volga outside Stalingrad The swift current created whirlpools that soon carried me away under the ice All kinds of things were passing by me which I could clearly make out in this green water horses whose feet the current was moving as if they were galloping fat and almost flat fish bottom feeders Russian corpses with swollen faces entwined in their curious brown capesAbove me the ice formed an opaue screen but the air lasted in my lungs I wasn t worried and kept swimming passing sunken barges full of handsome young men sitting in rows their weapons still in their hands little fish threading through their hair agitated by the current Then slowly in front of me the water grew lighter columns of green light plunged down from holes in the ice became a forest then melded into each other as the blocks of ice drifted farther apart There are parts of this book that reminded me of the sweep of Herman Wouk s The Winds of War and War and Remembrance if those great books had been written by Cormac McCarthy Then there are parts of this book that remind me of Team America World Police It s an interesting book and I mean interesting in the Confucian sense There are incredible moments some of which I ve mentioned others I can only note in passing such as gripping scenes set during the bombing of Berlin There are moments of pure inanity as Aue a self righteous pretentious preening gasbag holds forth on various topics in his grating solipsistic manner the tragedy of Aue not being able to fornicate with his sister tends to pale next to the murder of 6 million Jews Then there are moments of sheer weirdness such as a dream seuence in which Rudolf Hoess commandant of Auschwitz masturbates next to Aue s bed I don t know why though perhaps this could be a thesis topic if I ever go for my PhD in English I guess the best praise I can give this book is that it got a reaction from me Which ain t nothing

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O carriera nelle SS in Germania Pure essendo un nazionalsocialista convinto il giovane e brillante giurista era entrato per caso nel corpo punta di diamante del Reich hitleriano fermato dalla polizia dopo un incontro omosessuale aveva accettato di arruolarsi per evitare la denuncia Nel Max è sul fronte orientale dove dà il suo contributo al genocidio di ebrei zingari e comunisti Trasferito nel Caucaso e poi nella Stalingrado accerchiata dall'Armata rossa sopravvive miracolosamente a una g. I live I do what can be done it s the same for everyone I am a man like other men I am a man like you I tell you I am just like you Jonathan Littell The Kindly Ones This is a hard book to review It is like walking out of a David Lynch movie and feeling brain raped by the artist How exactly to you attempt to explore the depths of Nazi Germany without feeling dark abused and sick afterwards From conversations I ve had with those who ve hated this novel and British critics I ve read there is far too much shit incest anal sex and death Certainly But how exactly do you descend into the depths of Nazi hell without pushing through gouts of madness clumps of wickedness and wads of depravity You don tLittell uses Obersturmbannf hrer Maximilien Aue a cultured SS Zelig to explore how an unrepentant rationalist a bureaucrat an intellectual could participate in defend and justify the extermination of a race Aue doesn t wrestle any Jewish angels No he wrestles himself his country his ideology his sanity The slow decent of mad Max is a way for Littell to explore the absurd and tortured NAZI self justifications for their actions Littell also uses Max to incriminate us all as a species How close are we to those in Germany during WWII We like to think we are better moral kinder respectable innocent Are we Or are we simply blessed by chance because we don t find ourselves surrounded by madness wickedness and final solutions Does circumstance and chance really make us better Does the fact that we find ourselves by fate s mad roll distant from both victim AND victimizer give us any room to think we exist in a field that really separates us from the horrors of Germany or Nigeria or Sudan or Afghanistan or Somolia or Serbia or Cambodia or Burma or North KoreaAgain this is not a novel for the faint of heart or my mother It doesn t have a happy ending Hell it doesn t have a happy beginning middle or single clean signature It is a cold book sewn together with sick corruptions musical madness and omnipresent death It is a dance of evil a fugue of plagues a bile filled nightmare on every page Yes I m glad I read it but I m also sure as f k glad it is finished


10 thoughts on “Les Bienveillantes

  1. says:

    “Please mein Herr shoot the children cleanly”― Jonathan Littell The Kindly OnesSuch a fiercely compelling novel one of the most evil stories ever told I had to listen to the audio book while taking my walks and let all the evil from the novel run down my legs and out the bottom of my feet; so much evil thus my initial reluctance to write a review and highly recommend However the writing is excellent and t

  2. says:

    Lugging this gigantic book around from Omaha to Minneapolis to Dubai to Chicago back to Omaha I began to uestion why I was reading it It's nearly a thousand pages long; it's poorly translated; it was apparently edited by a monkey dying of Ebola; it has paragraphs that run on for pages and pages and pages; for some reason there is n

  3. says:

    I felt like abandoning this just about every day At times it irritated me at others it bored me My stubborn nature

  4. says:

    So what's the most atrocious thing you've seen? Man of courseThe Kindly Ones polarized both readers and critics all over the world They argued on its literary values and scandalous content pornocaust or holokitsch were amon

  5. says:

    It Begins and Ends in Bad PoliticsIt is possible for human beings to justify all behaviour no matter how irrational and cruel Because this is so some philosophers justify their view that moral norms must lie outside of human control that there must be a God who knows what good behaviour is This justification is also irrational and

  6. says:

    I live I do what can be done it's the same for everyone I am a man like other men I am a man like you I tell you I am just like you Jonathan Littell The Kindly Ones This is a hard book to review It is like walking out of a David Lynch movie and feeling brain raped by the artist How exactly to you attempt to explore the depths of Nazi Germany without feeling dark abused and sick afterwards? From conversations I've had with those who've hat

  7. says:

    The Kindly Ones is an unsentimental journey to the darkest side of the human history Fascism turned the Germany into a factory of death And every factory must have an effective technology So any technology must be perfected and the technology

  8. says:

    Rating 3 of fiveThe Publisher Says Oh my human brothers let me tell you how it happened So begins the chilling fictional memoir of Dr Maximilien

  9. says:

    So the war The Second one Or is that the Second One? Do we capitalise all Things Pertaining to the War? I think it’s appropriate to capitalise when referring to the Greatest Atrocity in All of Mankind or if no

  10. says:

    The English translation of les Bienveillantes is a travesti All the sardonic irony and the disgust of the author for his protagonist is lost; imagine taking seriously the Blagojevich defence I am being punished for doing the right thing for the

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