Today in January Magazine’s fiction section, contributing editor Tony Buchsbaum reviews The Kindly Ones by Jonathan Littell. Says Buchsbaum:
While I was waiting for an advance copy of Jonathan Littell's novel The Kindly Ones, winner of the 2006 Prix Goncourt, I satisfied my curiosity by reading articles about it and interviews with its author (in which he came across as prissy and mean-spirited: it was made clear that once he answers a question in one interview, he won't answer it again in another). Anyway, when it finally arrived in the mail, I dove right in.The full review is here.
Then promptly hit a submerged boulder that all but snapped my neck.
By any measurement, this is not a lightweight book. Measured page-wise, it's a 975-page behemoth. Measured plot-wise, it's a complex, detail-laden brick that's a memorable -- but far from great -- read. The subject matter is controversial, unpleasant, even incendiary. Its author is an American who wrote the book in France, in French (that's what qualified it for the Goncourt).