The Order of the Day
Translated by Mark Polizzotti
'A thoroughly gripping and mesmerising work of black comedy and political disaster' - Guardian
Winner of the 2017 Prix Goncourt
Éric Vuillard’s gripping novel The Order of the Day tells the story of the pivotal meetings which took place between the European powers in the run-up to World War Two. What emerges is a fascinating and incredibly moving account of failed diplomacy, broken relationships, and the catastrophic momentum which led to conflict.
The titans of German industry – set to prosper under the Nazi government – gather to lend their support to Adolf Hitler. The Austrian Chancellor realizes too late that he has wandered into a trap, as Hitler delivers the ultimatum that will lay the groundwork for Germany’s annexation of Austria. Winston Churchill joins Neville Chamberlain for a farewell luncheon held in honour of Joachim von Ribbentrop: German Ambassador to England, soon to be Foreign Minister in the Nazi government, and future defendant at the Nuremberg trials.
Suffused with dramatic tension, this unforgettable novel tells the tragic story of how the actions of a few powerful men brought the world to the brink of war.
A tightly paced and gripping read . . . Vuillard has written a magnificently entertaining account that manages to capture the wild and uneven emotional climate of the 1930s and speaks too to our own era of liars, demagogues and politics as farce, which, as Vuillard deftly shows us, can slide all too quickly into tragedy.
Andrew Hussey, Observer
A thoroughly gripping and mesmerising work of black comedy and political disaster. It seems designed single-mindedly to remind us that, as it says, “Great catastrophes often creep up on us in tiny steps.
Remarkable . . . It captures the bizarre blend of wishful thinking, clownish self-importance, and cold calculation that characterized many of the Nazis’ powerful enablers.