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Fear and Trembling: A Novel Paperback – April 18, 2002
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“Elegantly written . . . Nothomb demonstrates a shrewd understanding of the intricate ways Japanese relationships are made and spoiled.” ―The New York Times Book Review
“[A] polished little satire.” ―The Wall Street Journal
“A scathingly funny novella.” ―Newsday (New York)
“Amélie Nothomb adds humor, the ingredient most often missing in other writers from France of her generation, the ingredient most difficult to translate.” ―Los Angeles Times
“An utterly charming, humorous tale of East meets West . . . Nothomb is a terrific writer whose writing style is simple, honest, and elegant. Very highly recommended.” ―Library Journal
“A sharp, satiric new novel . . . Readers are sure to be won over by her spare, self-deprecating and wise tale.” ―Publishers Weekly
“Highly entertaining . . . Fear and Trembling (a perfect title) is filled with both droll observations and wry bitch gags.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“There can be no doubt about Amélie Nothomb's talent: her imagination, energy, facility, fertility, her edgy use of language all prove that she is a writer of enormous gifts. Her writing is as sharp as a whip, the perfect antidote to sleep-inducing novels. She wakes you up. She shakes you up . . . Fear and Trembling will keep readers entertained and on the edge of their seats until the final page.” ―Le Figaro
“More than anything this is a beautiful love story--in which Sappho meets the Marquis de Sade.” ―Le Nouvel Observateur
“Fear and Trembling is Nothomb at her finest. Never has she been so daring or inspired . . . This book is a small miracle. On second thought, no 'small' about it; it is plain and simple a miracle.” ―Le Point
About the Author
Belgian by nationality, Amelie Nothomb was born in Kobe, Japan, and currently lives in Paris. She is the author of eight novels, translated into fourteen languages. Fear and Trembling won the Grand Prix of the Academie Francaise and the Prix Internet du Livre.
Top Customer Reviews
Which is not to say that she doesn't screw up culturally, because she does-multiple times-but often the underlying problem is not her, but in the system around her. Nothomb uses these little catastrophes as windows to criticize Japanese business and social structures with scathing attacks, most notably a long discourse on the plight of the Japanese woman. Amélie is contrasted with her immediate boss, an immaculately put together beauty who is a lowly middle-manager, but still the highest level female in the company. Amélie has an odd, vaguely erotic, attraction to her which complicates everything. When the entire office witnesses (but tries not to ) this woman's verbally rape and humiliation at the hands of the boss, Amélie finds this emblematic of Japanese society's ostrich-like tendencies. While this may all sound deep and dark, the book is actually quite lively and humorous. That said, it's not a breathtaking book.Read more ›
I am amazed at the previous reviews, even the positive ones, which make the elementary mistake of thinking "Fear and Trembling" by Amelié Nothomb is a documentary portrayal of personal events.
Please remember, it is a work of *fiction*, not an *autobiography*, however much it may or may not draw on the author's personal experiences. If you read it as a diary of the author's personal life, you will hate it as a tale of cruelty and willfulness.
If you read it as a *fictional* tale which draws from and exaggerates all-too-recognizable human thoughts and emotions, you will admire the author's and translator's considerable talents.
Those reviewers who absolutely hated the book seem to have completely forgetten about the "willing suspension of disbelief" that we always bring to theatrical or fictional works, so that we may enter the author's mind for a short time and judge how skillfully he or she put together the elements of a story to fascinate, horrify, or amuse us.
The translator, Adriana Hunter, deserves the highest praise for her elegant prose, which perfectly captures the spirit and conciseness of the best writing in French. I fell in love with the prose, which I consider some of the best writing in English I've ever encountered. I look forward to reading the book in its original language.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
With her black funny mood, ingenuity and intelligence makes us feel that inteligence is a matter of perspectives. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Ariane Enríquez
I chose "dark" as one of the adjectives because the "big picture" is dark, but the author makes all the events funny, so if someone describes it as light-hearted,... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Arielviola
Having lived in Japan for 5 years I can relate to many facets of this book. It had me in tears multiple times, laughing thinking of the sheer craziness of the experience.Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
It captured a lot of my observations and experience working for a Japanese company in the 1980s with humor and compassion.Published on August 16, 2014 by Kindle Customer
I read this book in French first and English second, just to make sure I wasn't simply missing some greater, more profound meaning. Read morePublished on June 14, 2014 by Michelle Brown
This is a gem of a book: short, easy reading, but full of life lessons. Amelie Nothomb takes us on a journey. Read morePublished on June 5, 2014 by Maria