Thursday, August 20, 2009

prix goncourt winners who, for some weird reason, just don't catch on over here in america


Littell's novel The Kindly Ones was written in French and was published in France in 2006. The novel is the story of World War II and the Eastern Front, through the fictional memories of an articulate SS officer named Maximilien Aue.[12]

Littell said he was inspired to write the novel after seeing a photograph of Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya, a Soviet partisan executed by the Nazis. He traces the original inspiration for the book from seeing Claude Lanzmann’s film Shoah, an acclaimed documentary about the Holocaust, in 1991. He began research for the book in 2001 and started the first draft eighteen months later, after he had read around two hundred books about Nazi Germany and the Eastern Front,[13]as well as visiting Germany, East Europe and Caucasus. Littell claims that he undertook the creation of his main character, Aue, by imagining what he himself would have done had he been born in pre-war Germany and had become a Nazi.[14]

The Kindly Ones won the 2006 Prix Goncourt and the grand prix du roman of the Académie française. By the end of 2007, more than 700,000 copies had been sold in France.[15]

Littell's only previously published book, the cyberpunk novel Bad Voltage, which Littell considers "a very bad science-fiction novel",[16] tells the story of Lynx, a "half-breed" who lives in a futuristic Paris. Many scenes in the novel take place in the Paris Catacombs; he also includes an unusual appendix in this novel which lists all the music and songs he listened to while composing. In addition, Littell has published a detailed intelligence report about the security organs of the Russian Federation, an analysis of Léon Degrelle's book La Campagne de Russie, influenced by the works of the sociologist Klaus Theweleit, one book with four texts written before The Kindly Ones and, finally, a short essay.