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WWII tale is readied for the U.S.

October 27, 2006|From the Associated Press

NEW YORK — A 900-page World War II novel that was the talk of the Frankfurt Book Fair will be published in the United States in 2008.

Publisher HarperCollins won an extensive bidding war for Jonathan Littell's "The Kindly Ones," already a bestseller in France under its original title, "Les Bienveillantes." The book's narrator is a Nazi SS officer. Financial terms were not disclosed.

" 'The Kindly Ones' is a brilliant and terrifying novel that delves into the darkest chapters of 20th century history and into the darkest realm of the human psyche," HarperCollins Publisher Jonathan Burnham said Thursday in a statement.

The book was honored Thursday with the top literary prize from the Academie Francaise. Its 38-year-old author grew up in the United States but wrote his debut book in French as a tribute to two of his favorite authors, Stendhal and Flaubert. Littell's father, Robert Littell, is known for such spy novels as "Legends."

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