Tuesday, 1 January 2008

The best book I read in 2007...

Fear and Trembling by Amélie Nothomb

I’m in awe of this little book (132 pages). It is so well written, acutely observed, interesting, funny; such a good story, beautifully told.

From the back cover: “Amélie, a well-intentioned and eager young westerner, goes to Japan to spend a year working at the Yumimoto Corporation. Returning to the land where she was born is the fulfilment of a dream for Amélie, but once there her working life quickly becomes a comic nightmare of terror and self-abasement. Disturbing, hilarious and totally convincing, Fear and Trembling displays an elegant and shrewd understanding of the intricate ways in which Japanese relationships are made and spoiled.”

I’ve read reviews that describe this novel as “simplistic", and the characters “stereotypical”. But Amélie has a chid-like view. Nothomb pulls it off with verve!

Happy New Year!


ORION said...

Happy New Year to you too!
So you'll have to let me know when Lottery gets up to you LOL...
The release date is not really until January 3 so I was delighted to see it was out in London.
Here's to a wonderful 2008!

Mary said...

The wagons will be slowly grinding their way up north. I’ll send a carrier pigeon to Hawaii the moment they arrive!

John said...

Forget the critics. When it comes to contemporary short fiction Nothomb sweeps the board. Have you read Loving Sabotage?
Also, check out Dan Rhodes’s top 10 short books, if you haven’t already. http://books.guardian.co.uk/top10s/top10/

Mary said...

Whoops!!! This replaces my previous reply to John's comment, which disappeared (through my own stupid fault) from this page!

The comment thanked John for the link: Dan Rhodes compiles an excellent list.

I haven't read Loving Sabotage, YET!

John said...

What on earth were you doing? ;-)
Hmm... okay, think I prefer this new one.