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E passage of strange gentle Abel Tiffauges from submissive schoolboy to ogre of the Nazi school at the castle of Kaltenborn taking us deeper into the dark heart of fascism than any Michel Tournie

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Le Roi des Aulnes

An international bestseller and winner of the Prix Goncourt France's most prestigious literary award The Ogre is a masterful tale of innocence perversion and obsession It follows th This earned a

Michel Tournier ↠ 3 read

Novel since The Tin Drum Until the very last page when Abel meets his mystic fate in the collapsing ruins of the Third Reich it shocks us dazzles us and above all holds us spellboun If you wish to Naughty Bedtime Stories (Naughty Bedtime Series Book 2) ruins of the Third Reich it shocks us dazzles us and above all holds us spellboun If you wish to


10 thoughts on “Le Roi des Aulnes

  1. says:

    At a high point in a pivotal relationship formed during his refectory days in an alien French boy's school Abel Tiffauges is told the gruesome apocryphal story of the Baron des Adrets' newfound awareness of cadent euphoria by the obese enigma Nestor The crescendo is reached when the latter murmurs in coda that There's probably nothing moving in a man's life than the accidental discovery of his own perversion Just how much truth this observation bore is revealed to Abel many years later when he has mutated from a bunched up undersized boy into a hulking giant of a man bearing a wounded child in his massive arms he is lapped by beatific paroxysms of phoric joy much akin to that experienced by a pair of historic personages St Christopher when he similarly performed as steed for a riverine Christ and Alfonso d'Albuuerue a conuistador in peril of death at the hands of the boundless sea who perched a lad atop his shoulders in the desperate hope that the youth's innocence would serve to cleanse him of sin and turn the eye of God toward him in a favorable light Would that there were enough innocence to mount and shrive the twentieth century an epoch when perversion obsession and desire freed themselves from all restraints and ran amok amid a continent watered with blood The Ogre is a beautifully strange novel alternately narrated by and about the remarkable Abel Tiffauges—a Frenchman so unlike his countrymen a gentle giant who firmly believes himself an eternal and potent natural force primordial in origin descended across the mists of time from the original Abel the nomad brother of the sedentary Cain who—in a pattern to be repeated ad nauseam throughout history's pages—was murdered by his sibling for his hateful and peregrine individuality Tiffauges interacts with the material world only in a routine and perfunctory manner uietly going about his solitary business while experiencing a rich and eccentric inner life in which systems and symbols portents and preordained fates illuminate every event in their explicatory light Even as the apocalypse of the Second World War thunders down upon Europe and Tiffauges is swept from a Parisian suburban garage to Teutonic castles amidst the marshy forests and plains of East Prussia he is central to this avenging maelstrom a locus for the melancholy loam of Prussian nature yet completely apart from it—a separate entity to the daily suffering and slaughter that plays out around him Finding in the war the means to pursue his child focussed obsessions Abel calmly sets about a phoric existence luxuriating in its anarchic bliss until the diabolical inversion that always threatens the innocent poisons the roots of all his fantasiesMichel Tournier has penned a marvel here a haunting uirky story that lingers in the mind like a disturbing dream The fascinating symbolism and ego mythology of Abel's uniue and contentedly lonely mind after having spread to saturate every event and path of the story are swiftly drawn back in a taut synthesis for the perfectly realized final pages The dialectic between innocence as a guileless love of being of man of life and its malignant inversion purity a satanic hatred of all that innocence cherishes holds place of primacy along with those of freshness versus corruption chaste desire against lust and the boundaries of amorality Abel imagines himself an innocent—but why then his need to be anointed by that of a child? Abel's immense capacity for sacrifice and compassion exist right alongside his utter indifference to the suffering of the majority of humanity who don't conform to his ideals; the children he so gently carries have been cruelly ripped from the arms of their parents and a mother's tears move him no than the death throes of the Third Reich Unrealized guilt yet contains the potentiality for redemption that is immanent in culpability Not until the horrific joke played out by the malignant streams of fate is revealed to him in all the fullness of its macabre glory does Abel finally understand the price of phoria and truly behold the Erl King's sovereignty the inescapable fate in store for the Ogre whether in the pellucid realm of fairy tale or the grim theatre of reality


  2. says:

    A very special kind of book there's no doubt about that But I'm not sure what to feel about it The first third is a mix of diary excerpts memories and reveries especially about the youth of Abel Tiffauges a crippled garageholder in Paris It's difficult reading but it's clear enough Tiffauges looks at reality in a very strange way with special attention to young children yes indeed; he sees himself as childbearer and Saint Christopher his patron saint; but a girlfriend refers to the 'oger' myth a humanoid monster in fairy tales that hunts childrenThen the perspective changes the Second World War starts and Tiffauges is prisoner of war in a camp in East Prussia deep in Germany He is afforded a lot of freedom becomes an aide of Göring and eventually ends up in a castle school of the Hitlerjugend In the slipstream of nazi rigor and cruelty he can develop his special talents It is here the link is made with the known poem of Goethe the alder king Der Erlkönig I'm not going to reveal the end but in the midst of the apocalyptic sceneries of the fall of the Third Reich Tiffauges comes to repent his sins This part in Eastern Prussia is much easier to read as an interesting developing story But this also has a perverse side effect hunting red deers maniacally dissecting and analysing of racial and phyiscal characteristics of children atrociously training of the Hitlerjugend at a certain point it becomes attractive Add to this the beautiful depicting of the eastprussian landscapes dark woods lovely lakes and grand castles of the teutonic order all very wagnerian and attractive Tournier has drawn a lot of criticism for this as though he wanted to make nazisme likeable I don't agree on the contrary; he has succeeded in exhibiting the perversity in every human soul and he clearly shows the excesses this can lead to In short there is a lot in this book to make it a beautiful but shocking work but in the end I can not say this was pleasant to read So a very mixed and ambiguous judgment


  3. says:

    This earned a star from me for the research and inventive musings the author had obviously done to do pedantic exhibitions about1 monsters;2 the Aristotelian concept of potency which he managed to tie up with the sexual act;3 the two types of women the woman trinket one who can be manipulated by men and the woman landscape one whom a man can only visit;4 benign inversion evil becoming good sort of and the malign inversion the reverse;5 euphoria phoria to carry phoric phore anthropophoric the pricipal protagonist Abel Tiffauges likes to carry sick young boys in his arms experiencing euphoria in the process;6 atmospheric saturation eg when an atmosphere is saturated with beauty one feels an intoxication that has a distant affinity with phoric ecstasy like again holding a wounded child in one's arms;7 photography as the raising of an object to imaginary power;8 developing photo films as involving the inverse and reversible worlds;9 the French Penal Code;10 the use of pigeons during war the different kinds of such pigeons;11 the peat bog men carcasses of long dead men preserved in peat bogs;12 Nazi hunting lodges their games animal droppings;13 the different ways of measuring stags' antlers;14 the dynamics of horses;15 the origins of great East Prussian families traced way back to the Teutonic Knights;16 human twins;17 human hair;18 symbols in war; and 19 different positions of boys while asleepI also gave it another star because although I already knew the overall complexion of the story and its probable trajectory what with its dead giveaways the ogre title its first 13 part consisting of Tiffauges's sinister diary his huge body and the smallness of his penis his obvious megalomania and pedophiliac tendencies the war era France and later Germany as settings it turned out differently and uite beyond my expectationsApart from these however I felt this was just a piece of crap Yes I've read the other reviews and saw its high GR ratings But what can I possibly do when after finishing it I felt that the author had just taken a dump inside my brain?


  4. says:

    Do you not hear what the Erlking uietly promises me?The title of this brilliant novel comes from a poem by Goethe and traces back the love and admiration that the French novelist Michel Tournier 1924 2016 felt for Germany His father being a renowned expert in that country’s culture the boy learned the language at an early age He was raised with a German model in mind and a compulsive cult for order Published in 1970 the novel is centered in the figure of Abel Tiffauges who we follow throughout his life In the first part of the book by his “Écrits sinistres” sinister writings a diary written with the left hand where we learn of his vices and obscure views of the world and in the second part by a third person narrator from 1938 to 1945 In Goethe’s poem the ErlKing is a bleak mythical elf who is said to linger in the woods Erlkönig means literarily Alder King in French Le Roi des AulnesTiffauges vous êtes un lecteur de signes je l'ai bien vu et d'ailleurs vous me l'avez prouvé Vous avez cru découvrir dans l'Allemagne le pays des essences pures où tout ce ui passe est symbole tout ce ui se passe parabole Et vous avez raison D'ailleurs un homme marué par le destin est voué fatalement à finir en Allemagne comme le papillon ui tournoie dans la nuit finit toujours par trouver la source de lumière ui l'enivre et le tue Mais il vous reste beaucoup à apprendre Jusu'ici vous avez découvert des signes sur les choses comme les lettres et les chiffres u'on lit sur une borne Ce n'est ue la forme faible de l'existence symboliue Mais n'allez pas croire ue les signes soient toujours d'inoffensives et faibles abstractions Tiffauges you are a sign reader I have seen it and by the way you have proved it to me You thought you would discover in Germany the land of pure essences where everything that passes is a symbol everything that happens parable And you're right Moreover a man marked by fate is doomed fatally to end up in Germany as the butterfly that spins in the night always ends up finding the source of light that intoxicates and kills him But you still have a lot to learn So far you have discovered signs about things such as letters and numbers that are read on a terminal This is only the weak form of symbolic existence But don't think the signs are always harmless and weak abstractions Abel Tiffauges was a car mechanic who lived in the district of Champerret in Paris and believed he was a fairy tale character He was obsessed with deciphering signs all around him While holding an injured fellow worker in his arms he experienced a revelation that would prove crucial in his view and understanding of life The word phorie in French relates to the act of holding the world or a boy as Saint Christophe the patron saint of his school according to legend held once the boy Jesus in his arms and carried him to the other side of a river With this image in mind he patiently awaited the heroic moment that eventually would arrive Erklönig Moritz von Schwind 1804 1871Car s'il y a dans la Genèse une chute de l'homme ce n'est pas dans l'épisode de la pomme – ui marue une promotion au contraire l'accession à la connaissance du bien et du mal – mais dans cette dislocation ui brisa en trois l'Adam originel faisant choir de l'homme la femme puis l'enfant créant d'un coup ces trois malheureux l'enfant éternel orphelin la femme esseulée apeurée toujours à la recherche d'un protecteur l'homme léger alerte mais comme un roi u'on a dépouillé de tous ses attributs pour le soumettre à des travaux serviles For if there is a fall of man in Genesis it is not in the episode of the apple which marks a promotion on the contrary the accession to the knowledge of good and evil but in this dislocation which broke the original Adam in three bringing down the man the woman then the child suddenly creating these three unfortunates the eternal orphaned child the lonely frightened woman always in search of a protector the light man alert but like a king who has been stripped of all his attributes to subject him to servile work The author makes a strong case of the idea that good and evil live together in the mind of his fictional character The paroxysm of opposites seems to haunt him in the crucial moments of his life The ambivalence of human beings is put into uestion as the novel evolves Tiffauges finds it hard to fit in his social role when the community unjustly points a finger at him Deep inside he expects that same society to someday redeem him A loner by nature Michel Tournier lived for most of his life secluded in Chevreuse a commune outside Paris where he wrote in solitude His early formation was devoted to Philosophy an important presence in his fiction In Le Roi des Aulnes there is no exploration or innovation of formal structures There is however luminous originality in the writing superb richness of language and impeccably built prose baroue in nature surrounded by persuasive rhythmic vitality Erklönig Julius Sergius von Klever 1850 1924Tournier said he lacked imagination and declared in interviews that the invented parts are minimum in the overall plan of the story There is a strong influence of Flaubert in his writing that is reflected in specific sections of the plot Like the 19th century novelist he saw himself as a collector of stories from history and everyday life Tiffauges first a prisoner during the war and gradually engaged by the Nazi regime is seen as an ogre by the outside world although he considered himself righteous and noble But is he really so evil? The uestion remains opened and is resolved epically in the last scene biblical in its conception bringing the mythical figure to human proportions in the grandiose apotheosis of the novel Erlkönig poem by Goethe music by Franz SchubertThe setting of Goethe’s poem Erlkönig composed by Franz Schubert when he was 18 years old and performed in this historic video by the legendary Dietrich Fischer Dieskau ERLKÖNIG Who rides so late where winds blow wild?It is the father grasping his child;He holds the boy embraced in his armHe clasps him snugly he keeps him warmMy son why cover your face in such fearO don't you see the ErlKing near?The ErlKing with his crown and trainMy son the mist is on the plainSweet lad o come and join me doSuch pretty games I'll play with you;On the shore gay flowers their colors unfoldMy mother has made you a garment of goldMy father my father o can you not hearThe promise the ErlKing breathes in my ear?Be calm stay calm my child lie lowIn withered leaves the night winds blowWill you sweet lad come along with me?My daughters shall care for you tenderly;In the night my daughters their revelry keepThey'll rock you and dance you and sing you to sleepMy father my father o can you not traceThe ErlKing's daughters in that gloomy place?My son my son I see it clearHow grey the ancient willows appearI love you your comeliness charms me my boyAnd if you're not willing then force I'll employNow father o father he's seizing my armThe ErlKing has done me the cruelest harmThe father shudders his ride is wildIn his arms he's holding the shivering childHe reaches home with toil and dreadIn his arms the child was dead Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


  5. says:

    Since The Ogre is a book obsessed with taxonomy heraldry classification of all kinds I'll start by saying that the author MIchel Tournier most reminds me of is Thomas Mann Mann's playful ironic fictions seem to have fallen out of use these days I for one can't get over Guy Davenport's comparison of him to James Joyce Mann imposes meaning; Joyce finds it; Mann looks for weakness in strength; Joyce for strength in weakness Mann's novels illustrate ideas; Joyce's return ideas to their origins; but reading The Ogre I was reminded again of how incredibly fun it is to move around in a novel whose reserves are charged rather than sapped by a sense of ideal forms At times for all its storytelling and scene setting and narrative capability this book seems to be of an ecology than even the most experimental nouveaux romans Indeed by the end of it I got the sense that Tournier is not just system obsessed but system haunted and that the pages upon pages detailing the main character's private universe were put there as a way to make us see how a modern day Crusoe that is a person who feels completely cut off from human connection might go about surviving Loneliness This book is very lonely It is also I think a testament and warning to anyone who ever spent a year and a half trying to learn Elvish followed by Dark Elvish Klingon and probably because it was the most strange and made up sounding of the languages that my high school offered Russian What happens when the world you make in your head takes over? Or to put it even handedly I hope How do we light the mentalemotional candelabra inside us without eclipsing the very real and conseuential world outside us? How do we keep from destroyingbeing destroyed? In places Tournier's book may be in a little too much of a hurry the answer these uestions to follow the arrow of its logic I wanted of the tide pools But the last fifty pages or so are legitimately visionary and horrible an inverted King Matt the First and worth the momentum


  6. says:

    Michel Tournier's Der Erlekonigaka The Ogre aka Le roi des aulnes accomplishes the remarkable feat of making the reader feel even ueasier than does the poem by Goethe from which it takes its nameI still recall reading Goethe's poem in my last year of High School surrounded by old friends The Erlekonig is the ogre of the alders lurking in the trees waiting to grab and kill children In Goethe's poem a child is riding with his father who is driving his horse at a furious gallop hoping to reach home before the dreaded Erlkonig takes the child Alas it is not to be The boy dies in the last stanza leaving my friends and I in the class horrified Goethe indeed created a masterpiece of terrorTournier's version of the tale is even unsettling to the reader His protagonist is a socially awkward automobile mechanic who seems to be of rather sub par intelligence His name is Able Tiffauges which is the name of the property of Gilles de Rais the supposed historical model for Blue Beard Tiffauges unlike most Catholic men who arew instructed follow in the footsteps of St Joseph Tiffauges Saint Christopher as his role model His great dream is to be a porter of male children At this point the reader becomes uite worried sensing that Tiffauages is a very strange person who could uickly develop into a predatory paedophile What happens is indeed uite horribleTiffauges enrols in the French army during WWII is taken prisoner changes sides and is transferred to the Eastern Front He is assigned the job of kidnapping Lithuanian boys to be trained as soldiers to be used against the rapidly advancing Russian army The dimwitted Tiffauges initially believes that the boys are being trained for an elite officers corps When he realizes the truth it is of course too late Tiffauges tries to redeem himself by saving one of the boys from being killed He picks a particularly nice Jewish lad and flees Tiffauges and the boy are soon caught Tiffauges is killed In the view of some the author leaves the issue of the boy's survival open although from my view the text suggest that the boy dies as well The other opinion would have to be based on an interview with the author or same other statement outside of the book itselfHowever the last page is interpreted Der Erlekonig is a profoundly unsettling book The reader feels ill from the experience of having spent so much time inside the unhealthy mind of Tiffauges Nonetheless Tournier's novel is a tour de force He convinces us that the child eating ogre of the alders is indeed a reality in our unhappy world


  7. says:

    The ogre of the title is Abel Tiffauges a French mechanic who first appears a kind of autistic naif strange rather than frightening in his obsessions or perversions It begins in France 1938 in the years before Hitler's invasion — then as the war progresses the setting moves eastward into a winter world of horror and ultimately transcendence — which I admit doesn't tell you much It's an unusual demanding novel; to my mind a work of genius unlike anything I've ever read including the other great eually odd novels of Tournier Gemini; Friday; The Four Wise MenNot a book for the weak hearted


  8. says:

    Michel Tournier writesThere’s probably nothing moving in a man’s life than the accidental discovery of his own perversionandThe very perfection of its functioning and the terrible energy that went into it were enough to exclude him forever but he knew no machinery is safe from a piece of grit and that fate was on his side and The moth flies on wings of love toward the electric light bulb And when he gets there close to it as near as he can be to that which attracts him irresistibly he doesn’t know what to do He doesn’t know what to do with it For indeed what can a moth do with an electric lightbulb?


  9. says:

    If you wish to be an ogre then it is very important that you not only be bullied mercilessly but that you react by choosing someone completely unsuitable as a role model This is what happens to Abel Tiffauges the son of an auto mechanic who despite his height is treated like dirt at a Catholic school and ends by inheriting his father's garageAlong the way he develops some strange ideas regarding children While he is not a pederast and never even attempts to initiate any overt molestation Yet he is falsely accused by a little girl to whom he has given rides in his car of rape Just when he is about to be adjudged as guilty of crime a sympathetic judge frees him providing he joins the army It is only days before the German invasion of France and the Phony War is about to turn into a real shooting warBefore long Abel is captured by the Germans and sent to a prison camp in East Prussia where he develops a reputation as a trusted hard working prisoner Because of his ability with motor vehicles he is transferred to Goering's giant hunting lodge at Rominten and from there to the napola of Kaltenborn where he becomes an assistant to a racial theorist named Otto BlaettchenThese napolas are short for National Political Academies where German youth are trained to become SS officers As always Tiffauges enters into the spirit of the institution and even takes over Blaettchen's position when the latter is transferred to the Eastern Front In the end Tiffauges is so successful in finding prototypically Aryan looking recruits that he develops a fearsome reputation in the Prussian hinterlandThis warning is addressed to all mothers in the areas of Gehlenburg Sensburg Loetzen and LyckBEWARE OF THE OGRE OF KALTENBORNHe is after your children He roves through our country stealing children If you have any never forget the Ogre—he never forgets them Don't let them go out alone Teach them to run away and hide if they see a giant on a blue horse with a pack of black hounds If he comes to see you don't yield to his threats don't be taken in by his promises All mothers should be guided by one certainty If the Ogre takes your child you will NEVER see him againAt the napola the boys and girls are raised in a military discipline heavily laden with the ersatz symbolism of a uasi fictitious Teutonic past What eventually happens of course is that the Russians invade on their way to take Berlin The ending of Michel Tournier's The Ogre is exceedingly strange and not altogether successful The book does however show how one on the borders of evil can still be strangely innocent while contributing to the overall evils of National Socialism The Ogre is probably one of the best French novels of the second half of the Twentieth Century Tournier succeeds in keeping the reader enthralled from the first page to the last


  10. says:

    One of the weirdest books I have ever read Très bizarre