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January Books 20) The Book of Proper Names

20) The Book of Proper Names, by Amélie Nothomb (.co.uk, .com)

Reading this was partly a result of impulse buying in Vienna, but also partly feeling that I should be getting to grips with the great writers of my country of residence. Especially those who were born in the same year as me.

It's a very short book (126 pages) that combines moments of some depth with moments of utter silliness. Most of it is a sparse but sympathetic study of a girl who is adopted by her aunt after her parents die horribly, is a bit of a misfit at school, goes into ballerina training and develops anorexia. Which is all OK; a bit wrenching to read in places, but engaging. Then she is wonderfully cured of anorexia, falls in love withe the Right Man, and shoots the author. Yes, that is how the book ends, and I do not apologise for spoiling it; it is such a stupid ending that it deserves no respect.

I see that LibraryThing users tend to also have her Fear and Trembling and Hygiène de l'assassin, her first novel which has not yet been translated into English. Might give the first of those a go some time.

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Feb. 2nd, 2007 10:02 am (UTC)
Ms. Nothomb
Fear and Trembling is really very good but I enjoyed Metaphysique des Tubes even better - recommended. Truly. Weird but funny and insightful.

Anne
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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