Winner of 2006 Prix Goncourt and the grand prix du roman of Académie française, Literary Review’s bad sex in fiction award 2009, 2010 Best Translated Book Award: Fiction Longlist, 2010 long list Independent Foreign Fiction Prize
The Kindly Ones has been haunting me for a while. It seems to have won every prize it is eligible for, and people keep mentioning it along-side words such as controversial, powerful and disturbing. Anyone who has read this blog for a while will know that all these things make a book attractive to me. The problem is that it is nearly 1000 pages long and it does seem to be the most disturbing book ever written. I am sure that this book will give me nightmares, but I am hoping that it will be worth it in the end.
The book is a fictional biography of a Holocaust exectioner. I think the tone of the book can be summarised by this quote I found on page 21:
Yesterday I went into my local library in the search for Orange books. A small pile of Kindly Ones was sitting on a table, calling to me. It didn’t look as though anyone had ever checked one out and so on the spur of the moment I took a copy home with me.
A brief conversation on twitter followed in which several people questioned whether I’d finish it before it is due back (3 weeks) and a few warned me that it isn’t an easy read. Then Elle from Gleeful Reader volunteered to join me in reading this chunkster and a read-along was born. I apologise for the lack of notice, the fast pace of the reading (50 pages a day) and the fact I probably won’t get much else read for the next few weeks, but I am keen to follow my reading whims and this book just intrigued me too much. I would love it if a few of you would join us, but realise it is unlikely at such short notice. I have created a google wave (see below) for the discussion so that the blog won’t become cluttered with a conversation that few people are part of. The great thing is that the Wave will always exist, so if you decide to read the book in the future then you can always join in the discussion then.
Wish us luck!
Does The Kindly Ones appeal to you?
I have created a Wave for The Kindly Ones read-along. Unfortunately some nasty bot corrupted it so I have had to create a new one visible only to those I invite. If you would like to join the discussion then just let me know and I’ll add you to the wave. If you’ like an invite to Google Wave then just email me using the contact form in the top right-hand corner of my blog.