- Paperback: 144 pages
- Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; Reprint edition (April 18 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0312288573
- ISBN-13: 978-0312288570
- Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 28.7 x 20.3 cm
- Shipping Weight: 204 g
- Average Customer Review: 22 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #278,308 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Fear and Trembling: A Novel Paperback – Apr 18 2002
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From Library Journal
Winner of many literary prizes in France, Nothomb (Loving Sabotage, Stranger Next Door) presents an utterly charming, humorous tale of East meets West in her newest novel about a young Belgian woman who works for a year in Japan, a country that she has revered and admired since childhood. At the Yumimoto Corporation, a huge export/import business, the chain of command is made very clear to her on a daily basis, and all initiative is snuffed out. After several crucial errors, our heroine's career ends up in the toilet, literally. Nothomb is a terrific writer whose writing style is simple, honest, and elegant. Very highly recommended for all libraries.DLisa Rohrbaugh, East Palestine Memorial P.L., OH
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
As if we needed more proof that our globe is shrinking, here is a novel set in Japan, translated from French, written by a Belgian who was born in Kobe and now lives in Paris. Our heroine, Amelie, gets a job in the import-export division of the huge Yumimoto Corporation, the only Westerner in sea of Japanese company men. There are also a very few women, the most prominent among them being the stunning and awe-inspiring Miss Mori, Amelie's immediate superior. Through no fault of her own, but only because no one who is not Japanese can possibly navigate through all the complex rituals and protocols that lie at the heart of Japanese corporate culture, Amelie-san finds herself falling down a rabbit hole of increasingly meaningless tasks--delivering the mail, photocopying an executive's golf club bylaws, finally cleaning the bathrooms. It is Fubuki Mori who presides over this spiral, bent on humiliation even as Amelie begins to understand and even sympathize with her plight as an unmarried Japanese woman trying to hold her own. Mary Ellen Quinn
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Top Customer Reviews
The silver lining is that, with resolve, a determined reader can turn the book into an afternoon's reading; there's no need to extend the experience of wringing out the useful information.
Amelie joins the job force in Japan with high hopes. But from the very start, her superiors get angry at her dedication, talent, language skills, and pretty much her every single move. She gets demoted to Calendar page turner to washroom toilet paper re-filler. How can an occidental woman fit in Japan?
I was astonished to see just how much stress Amelie could take. Although, she would lose her nerves from time to time, her willpower to belong was stronger than any insult they threw her way. The resemblance between the novel and the film are uncanny. So I strongly recommend you read it first, otherwise you will be slightly bored.
The reader may find it a bit difficult to empathize with Amelie, particularly when she kowtows to a culture that demands, by its own admission, foreign adherence to its whims when its own people are not expected to reciprocate in any kind. When Amelie apologizes to Fubuki, the pseudo-nemesis of the story's protagonist, for committing "grave mistakes" that should have otherwise been excused or overlooked, I actually cringed. It was not until the final page that I felt I had a good grip on the author's intent in those passages.
Nothomb is an exquisite author, but I can only say this because of the magnificent translation provided by Adriana Hunter. Hunter gives us a sympathetic reading of Nothomb's nuances and intentions, and allows the reader to fill in the verbal gaps from the original French version.
This is a highly respectable (and very short) work, and well worthy of even the most cautious reader's eye.