The Ogre by Michel Tournier

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The Ogre by Michel Tournier

French fiction

Original title – Les Roi des aulnes

Translator – Barbara Bray

Source – personnel copy

Belligerent ghouls
run Manchester schools
spineless swines
cemented minds
Sir leads the troops
jealous of youth
same old suit since 1962
he does the military two-step
down the nape of my neck
I wanna go home
I don’t want to stay
give up education
as a bad mistake
mid-week on the playing fields
Sir thwacks you on the knees
knees you in the groin
elbow in the face
bruises bigger than dinner plates
I wanna go home
I don’t want to stay

Another school in Manchester The smiths talk about there brutal school days .

Well I had a lucky day a few weeks back I found this and Roger Vailland book the law both Prix Goncourt winners . The Goncourt is the top french prize for fiction and one of the original prizes for fiction around the world . Michel Tournier . Was born on Paris , but has always had a connection to Germany , he studied german and spent many a summer in his youth there . A number of his books have a German connection like this one .He is often mentioned as a possible Nobel winner .Although with Mondiano winning last year it may be to late now

Febuary 8 1938 , sometimes you have to reach bottom before you at last see a glimmer of hope pierce the clouds .It was the  Colaphus that revealed to me for the first time the astonishing protection I was to be the object of , and which still hovers over me .

When do we know what is bottom thou ?

The Ogre or as it was also published The erl king is his most well-known book . The book is the story of one man growing from a shy boy to the so-called Ogre of Kaltenborn . Abel Tiffauges tale is one of what nuture can do . The story is told by Abel and narrated as we see him move from a simple man working at a garage , a keeper of pigeons and then he joins the army and is caught by the Germans and ends up working at a Nazi school were his job is to recruit kids for this school . How does this bullied school boy become the Ogre of a Nazi school ? When will he see the world for hat it is around him .

He had to make a superhuman effort now to overcome the viscous resistance grinding in his belly and breast , but preserved , knowing all was as it should be when he turned to look up for the last time at Ephraim , all he saw was a six -pointed star turning slowly against a black sky .

The closing lines of this book as he sees the world slightly differently .

This book is an example of what happens when a simple man in a way meets an evil world . Abel becomes like the world around him but how easy it is to get drawn in by the Nazi mindset . Abel is one man but he maybe is also the voice of so many that fell foul of the Nazi regime those how came to blindly believe  at what they are told . But given his past you see how that lead to the present . I was reminded in a way of Alex in clockwork orange especially near the end of the book were both characters see what their effect on the world has been. What we have here is a book full of ideas and how ideas can change the world for good or bad  , The book has been made into a film in the 90’s which I must try to find to watch .Has anyone seen it ?

What is your favourite Prix Goncourt winning book ?

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Tony
    Jun 27, 2015 @ 09:37:56

    I didn’t recognise this at first from the title, but I actually reviewed this a few years back – from a German edition (it’s a long story…). I enjoyed it a lot, a shame I haven’t tried more of his work.

    Reply

    • winstonsdad
      Jun 27, 2015 @ 09:40:06

      Nit sure how.much more is translated tony I will be trying to find more.especially as Bray is such a good translator there seems to be a few more from John Hopkins like this one

      Reply

  2. MarinaSofia
    Jun 27, 2015 @ 09:53:19

    Have a love-hate relationship with Prix Goncourt winners – sometimes it feels like an Old Boys’ Club, or that the more ‘worthy subject’ wins, rather than good writing. This one seems to be on the worthy, weighty subjects side of the spectrum. Having said that, however, it does sound like a fascinating read.

    Reply

  3. Anokatony
    Jun 27, 2015 @ 20:55:00

    I’ve read everything of Michel Tournier I could get my hands on, he is my favorite recent French writer and my favorite Goncourt winner. The Ogre is one of his several best.

    Reply

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