Éric Vuillard wins the 2017 Prix Goncourt for his novel L’ordre du jour

Éric Vuillard has won the Prix Goncourt 2017 for his book on the rise of Hitler, L’ordre du jour.

The Prix Goncourt, which has been running since 1903, is France’s top literary prize and is awarded to ‘the best and most imaginative prose work of the year’. It is so prestigious the winner is given just €10 (about R160), as sales of the winning book skyrocket upon announcement. Many reading clubs in France exist solely to read Prix Goncourt-winning books, including this one on Instagram.

Bakhita by Véronique Olmi, a novel about a female slave in nineteenth-century Sudan, was the runner-up for the prize this year. Olmi only narrowly missed out, receiving four votes from the judges to Vuillard’s six.

Previous Prix Goncourt winners in recent years have included Michel Houellebecq (2010), Leïla Slimani (2016) and Mathias Énard (2015).

As a winner, the forceful L’ordre du jour stands out, being just 160 pages long and a work of fiction that has deep roots in fact and history. Vuillard’s book looks back at key moments in the nineteen-thirties that led to the Nazis building irresistible momentum, including the annexation of Austria, as well as the role of some seemingly innocuous companies that surround us today—IBM, Siemens and Opel, to name a few.

Author image: Joel Saget

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