The Order of the Day (Other Press)
The Los Angeles Review of Books and Tom’s Book Club are delighted to feature Éric Vuillard in conversation with Laurie Winer and Tom Lutz to discuss his 2017 Prix Goncourt Winner The Order of the Day (Other Press). This event is free and open to both book club members and the public.
At a time marked by an ever-widening inequality gap, promulgating the interests of a few at the expense of many, and a rising wave of nationalism, spurred on by assaults to democratic freedoms and propaganda bubbles intended to distort truth, Éric Vuillard’s 2017 Prix Goncourt Winner, The Order of the Day offers a distilled and imaginative retelling of a similarly pivotal moment in history. What emerges is a timely warning about the fragility of the present moment. The annexation of Austria into Nazi Germany has long been seen as one of history’s most foreboding moments. Now, through a host of letters, historical documents, and photographs, Vuillard masterfully reconstructs and looks anew at the extraordinary sequence of events that opened a gateway to one of the greatest humanitarian horrors in our history. The Order of the Day exhumes a well-known history with fresh eyes, warning of the timeless threat to freedom exacted by self-interest, willful ignorance and the consolidation of power in the hands of the few.
Praise for The Order of the Day
“France’s most prestigious literary prize, the Prix Goncourt, has been awarded to “L’Ordre du Jour,” by Éric Vuillard, a historical work about shady business dealings behind the Nazi annexation of Austria in 1938…The book is based on historical documents and photographs. It opens with a friendly meeting in 1933 between Hitler and 24 major figures in German industry and finance, including brands like Bayer and Allianz that are familiar today. Mr. Vuillard, a 49-year-old filmmaker and the author of several previous novels, said by telephone that he had been inspired by Montesquieu’s warning that the concentration of power and money in the hands of a few was “dangerous for everybody.” Elements of realism make novels powerful, he said. “I don’t think that the novel is about imagination,” he continued… while his book was based on true events, he considered it a novel because there is not such a thing as neutral history.” - New York Times
Éric Vuillard is a writer and filmmaker born in Lyon in 1968 who has written nine award-winning titles, including Conquistadors (winner of the 2010 Prix Ignatius J. Reilly), and La bataille d’Occident and Congo (both of which received the 2012 Prix Franz-Hessel and the 2013 Prix Valery-Larbaud). He won the 2017 Prix Goncourt, France’s most prestigious literary prize, for L’Ordre du Jour. His most recent book, Sorrow of the Earth, was his first published in English; The Order of the Day is his second. He lives in Rennes, France.
Photo by Melania-Avanzato
Tom Lutz is the founding editor of Los Angeles Review of Books and the author, most recently, of And the Monkey Learned Nothing.
Laurie Winer has worked at the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, where she was chief drama critic. She is a founding editor at the Los Angeles Review of Books. Her book Song of Ourselves: Oscar Hammerstein II and the American Musical will be published next year by Yale University Press.