Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Les Bienveillantes

So the French novel Les Bienveillantes ("The Benevolent Ones") which has been creating news for the last two months has won the Goncourt prize. I was intrigued by it when I had first read about it somewhere in the context of Frankfurt book fair. In case you have not been following, the 39 year old author of this 900 page novel, Jonathan Littell, is actually an American who lives in Spain and who is married to a Belgian and who writes in French. He claims that he chose French because that's the language of his literary heroes, Stendhal and Flaubert. I am a big fan of these two writers too but reading the account of his novel it doesn't look like he learnt a lot from either of them... It looks more like Houellebecq's The Elementary Particles (which I love by the way and which I think won the Goncourt too) than the great nineteenth century European novels.

Sign and Sight claims that his "aesthetics of horror, contrary to the French critics, has less to do with Stendhal's directness than with the horror film genre," which sounds very reasonable to me.

More reading stuff, if interested, from new york times, the guardian and the times.

What, all excited but don't know French? Too bad, because the English translation is scheduled for release sometime only in 2008.


jyothsnay said...

Je peux lutter avec la violence {sourires}

Alok said...

err, and what will that mean?

Alok said...

Hmm. Very witty. (Thank you, Google)

Looks like, I will have to take up your sevices when I start learning french...

jyothsnay said...

I am learning and that initial surge is insurmountable...my services come with a tag of premiumness...and a lilting poetic touch!

Alok said...

I think, I can handle that :)