Synopses & Reviews
“Simply astounding. . . . The Kindly Ones
is unmistakably the work of a profoundly gifted writer.” — Time
A literary prize-winner that has been an explosive bestseller all over the world, Jonathan Littells The Kindly Ones has been called “a brilliant Holocaust novel… a world-class masterpiece of astonishing brutality, originality, and force,” and “relentlessly fascinating, ambitious beyond scope,” by Michael Korda (Ike, With Wings Like Eagles). Destined to join the pantheon of classic epics of war such as Tolstoys War and Peace and Vasily Grossmans Life and Fate, The Kindly Ones offers a profound and gripping experience of the horrors of World War II and the Holocaust.
"A great work of literary fiction, to which readers and scholars will turn for decades to come." Antony Beevor, The Times (London)
"An extraordinarily powerful novel.... Above all, it is a sophisticated exploration of issues of morality, evil and luck... The novel as a whole brilliantly shows how 'ordinary men' become killers." The Observer (London)
"Unquestionably brilliant...Littell is a gifted writer and what he achieves...is unparalleled...The novel [is] scrupulous in its period details and...generous in its scope" The Nation
"The meticulously realistic main plot of The Kindly Ones is brilliantly organized and written." BookForum
"A world-class masterpiece of astonishing brutality, originality, and force." The Daily Beast
“An alternately fascinating and impressively researched novel. . . . Its feverish voice is weirdly mesmerizing, the scope awesome.” Newark Star Ledger
“The force and clarity with which Littell renders the physical realities of war and mass murder are simply astounding. . . . The Kindly Ones is unmistakably the work of a profoundly gifted writer.” Time magazine
A former Nazi officer, Dr. Maximilien Aue has reinvented himself, many years after the war, as a middle-class family man and factory owner in France. An intellectual steeped in philosophy, literature, and classical music, he is also a cold-blooded assassin and the consummate bureaucrat. Through the eyes of this cultivated yet monstrous man we experience in disturbingly precise detail the horrors of the Second World War and the Nazi genocide of the Jews. Eichmann, Himmler, Göring, Speer, Heydrich, Höss even Hitler himself play a role in Max's story. An intense and hallucinatory historical epic, The Kindly Ones is also a morally challenging read. It holds a mirror up to humanity and the reader cannot look away.
About the Author
Jonathan Littell was born in New York to American parents, and grew up in the United States and France. He lives in Barcelona, Spain.