On 19 January Foreign Minister Frank‑Walter Steinmeier issued the following statement on the death of the French author Michel Tournier:
I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of French author Michel Tournier. We have lost a great friend of Germany. Tournier leaves behind a rich volume of work full of mythological, historical and also topical references. He never allowed himself to be restricted in terms of time, space or genre. In the 1970s, in his prizewinning novel “The Erl-King”, he was far ahead of his time in describing the Second World War as a shared Franco-German history. It is no coincidence that German director Volker Schlöndorff subsequently turned it into a film.
Michel Tournier was a literary adventurer who brilliantly blurred the lines between reality and magic while at the same time referring in his writing to current developments. In him we are losing a committed European and great supporter of Franco-German friendship who carried in his heart the deep bond that exists between our countries as part of our united Europe. He will live on in his writings, passing this message on to coming generations.