Nothomb
2015 Longlist

Life Form

Translated from the original French by Alison Anderson
artwork-image

ABOUT
THE BOOK

Here is a new work of fiction by the always surprising Nothomb that subverts any attempts at categorization; a smart, singular, surreal novel about personality and philosophy, trauma and healing, solitude and human connection from one of Europe’s most talked about and beloved authors.

One morning, the heroine of this book, a well-known author named Amélie Nothomb, receives a letter from one of her readers–an American soldier stationed in Iraq by the name of Melvin Mapple. Horrified by the endless violence around him, Melvin takes comfort in over-eating. He eats and eats until his fat starts to suffocate him and he can barely fit into his XXXXL clothes. Disgusted with himself, but unable to control his eating, he takes his mind off his ever-growing bulk by naming it Scheherazade and pretending that his own flesh will keep an increasingly intolerable loneliness at bay.

Repulsed but also fascinated, Nothomb begins an exchange with Mapple. She finds herself opening up to him about her difficulties with being in the public spotlight and the challenges of her work. An epistolary friendship of sorts develops, one that delves into universal questions about human relationships. The bond between Mapple and Nothbomb will undergo a sea of change when the novelist discovers bizarre facts lurking behind Mapple’s complex personal story.

 

ABOUT
THE AUTHOR Amélie
Nothomb

Amélie Nothomb was born in Japan of Belgian parents in 1967. She lives in Paris. Since her debut on the French literary scene a little more than a decade ago, Amélie Nothomb has published a novel a year, every year. Her edgy fiction, unconventional thinking, and public persona have combined to transform her into a worldwide literary sensation. Amélie’s books have been translated into thirty-nine languages and been awarded numerous prizes including the French Academy’s 1999 Grand Prix du Roman, the René-Fallet prize, the Alain-Fournier prize, and the Grand Prix Giono in 2008.

Amélie Nothomb was born in Japan of Belgian parents in 1967. She lives in Paris. Since her debut on the French literary scene a little more than a decade ago, Amélie Nothomb has published a novel a year, every year. Her edgy fiction, unconventional thinking, and public persona have combined to transform her into a worldwide literary sensation. Amélie’s books have been translated into thirty-nine languages and been awarded numerous prizes including the French Academy’s 1999 Grand Prix du Roman, the René-Fallet prize, the Alain-Fournier prize, and the Grand Prix Giono in 2008.

ABOUT
THE TRANSLATOR Alison
Anderson

Alison Anderson’s translations for Europa Editions include novels by Sélim Nassib, Amélie Nothomb, and Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt. She has translated all of Muriel Barbery’s books, including the international bestseller, The Elegance of the Hedgehog.

Alison Anderson’s translations for Europa Editions include novels by Sélim Nassib, Amélie Nothomb, and Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt. She has translated all of Muriel Barbery’s books, including the international bestseller, The Elegance of the Hedgehog.

NOMINATING LIBRARY COMMENTS

Partly epistolary novel with a narrator named Amélie, who is almost indistinguishable from the author. The novel raises questions of war, dependence and the nature of writing and proves Nothomb’s originality.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Date published
05/02/2013
Country
Belgium
Original Language
French
Publisher
Europa Editions
Translator
Alison Anderson
Translation
Translated from the original French by Alison Anderson

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