Sunday, April 21, 2013

Amélie Nothomb’s “Life Form”

Reviewed by Emma Garman

Image of Amélie Nothomb’s “Life Form”
Translated from the French by Alison Anderson
Europa Editions, 2013

“I need to be very hungry all the time,” celebrated Belgian novelist and disordered eater Amélie Nothomb once admitted. “I need to be very hungry to write.” For her nineteenth book, Life Form, Nothomb has applied her preternaturally original mind to those two favorite subjects—writing and “superhunger”—to create a story that, even by her standards, is astonishing in its wit and grace. As usual, we meet a narrator named Amélie, who’s almost indistinguishable from the author. But in a new departure for Nothomb, this partly epistolary novel also includes the perspective of a character with whom she has little in common—an American man—thus creating an extra challenge for her longtime translator, Alison Anderson.

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