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Fear and Trembling by Amélie Nothomb
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Fear and Trembling (1999)

by Amélie Nothomb

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1,695524,207 (3.66)102
  1. 10
    Hell by Yasutaka Tsutsui (SqueakyChu)
    SqueakyChu: Satire of certain aspects of the Japanese psyche. In addition, a fun read!
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Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
This book has such a simple premise but happens to contain so much thought behind culture. I enjoy Amelie Nothomb, her writing has a certain dark comic side that I find fits perfect with my taste. This book is her most acclaimed with the awards it won, but I enjoyed "The Stranger Next Door" quite a bit more than this book. Perhaps because this contained more of an upfront cultural debate and the other contained more mystery. What I will be taking from this... I do like this Author very much and will be seeking out more of her work to read. ( )
  yougotamber | Aug 22, 2014 |
Brilliant, mesmerizing, laugh-out-loud funny, insightful, I recommend reading Fear and Trembling-like other Am̩lie Nothomb books--in a single sitting. This one begins with the narrator describing her position as a Westerner in the hierarchy of a Japanese corporation (she's at the bottom) and ends with her going through the different people in the hierarchy to resign her position at the end of the year. In between it chronicles her relationships to her superiors in hilarious black comic manner, often spinning out extensive monologues of what she would say to them if she didn't have any self restraint. In the course of it, you get an interesting window into Japanese corporate culture, hierarchy, attitudes towards women, and the concepts around "saving face".

Much of the book centers around the narrator being held back by her immediate boss, a 29 year-old woman who is jealous that this new entrant might be promoted much more quickly than she had been. As a result the narrator's brief attempt to escape into more interesting work is squelched with her denunciation by her immediate boss and leads to a set of cruel consequences for the people around her. Although some of the figures are stereotypes (including the obligatory for a Nothomb novella grossly obese, warped character), they vary and present a rich variety of how people cope with the stresses of operating in hierarchies with life tenure.
  nosajeel | Jun 21, 2014 |
bookshelves: currently-reading, film-only, autumn-2013, belgium, japan, translation, travel, published-1999, shortstory-shortstories-novellas, tokyo
Read from November 26 to 27, 2013


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Description from IMDB: A Belgian woman looks back on her year at a Japanese corporation in Tokyo in 1990. She is Amélie, born in Japan, living there until age 5. After college graduation, she returns with a one-year contract as an interpreter. The vice president and section leader, both men, are boors, but her immediate supervisor, Ms. Mori, is beautiful and trustworthy. Amélie's downfall begins when she speaks perfect Japanese to clients. She compounds her failure by writing an excellent report for an enterprising colleague. The person she least expects to stab her in the back exposes her work. Thus begins her humiliations. What can become of her and of her relationship with Ms. Mori and with Japan?

Harsh work environment in Tokyo; in fact life in general seems to be so cold and inhuman, or is it just that I come across the wrong books. *shrug* Either way, as eye-opening as it is, this was not a cherishable story. ( )
  mimal | Jan 1, 2014 |
Made me feel better about the cultural difficulties I was having as an American living in France. Really enjoyed it. ( )
  Snukes | Jun 14, 2013 |
I can't believe I've not read this before - it's been sitting on my shelf for ages - and I think I've been missing out.

Young Amélie starts work as a translator at Yumimoto at the bottom rung of the corporate ladder, but as she makes a bad impression as soon as she arrives, and continues to break Japanese traditions and infuriate her superiors, she is continually demoted until she takes on the job of 'Madame Pipi' in the 44th floor toilets.

Absolutely hilarious - I was trying (and failing) to not burst out laughing and look like an idiot while reading on the bus... ( )
  stevejwales | Apr 27, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
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Mister Haneda was senior to Mister Omochi, who was senior to Mister Saito, who was senior to Miss Mori, who was senior to me.
Monsieur Haneda était le supérieur de monsieur Omochi, qui était le supérieur de monsieur Saito, qui était le supérieur de mademoiselle Mori, qui était ma supérieure.
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Original title: Stupeur et tremblements
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Book description
Nuori, akateemisesti koulutettu belgialainen Amélie on saanut työpaikan suuryrityksestä Japanissa, lapsuutensa idyllissä. Hän hallitsee täydellisesti japanin kielen, mutta kulttuurien kuilu on ylittämätön. Väärinkäsitykset takaavat, että ura on jyrkästi laskujohteinen.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312288573, Paperback)

According to ancient Japanese protocol, foreigners deigning to approach the emperor did so only with fear and trembling. Terror and self-abasement conveyed respect. Amélie, our well-intentioned and eager young Western heroine, goes to Japan to spend a year working at the Yumimoto Corporation. Returning to the land where she was born is the fulfillment of a dream for Amélie; working there turns into comic nightmare.

Alternately disturbing and hilarious, unbelievable and shatteringly convincing, Fear and Trembling will keep readers clutching tight to the pages of this taut little novel, caught up in the throes of fear, trembling, and, ultimately, delight.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:17:50 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

A novel set in contemporary Japan depicting Japanese corporate culture and the sexism and racism that exist in Japanese society.

» see all 3 descriptions

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Voland Edizioni

Two editions of this book were published by Voland Edizioni.

Editions: 8886586728, 8886586957

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