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Igiene dell'assassino by Amelie Nothomb
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Igiene dell'assassino (original 1992; edition 1997)

by Amelie Nothomb, Biancamaria Bruno (Translator)

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9412413,371 (3.69)56
Member:Lilirose_
Title:Igiene dell'assassino
Authors:Amelie Nothomb
Other authors:Biancamaria Bruno (Translator)
Info:Roma, Voland, 1997
Collections:Letti, Your library
Rating:***
Tags:narrativa, intervista, letteratura francese

Work details

Hygiene and the Assassin by Amélie Nothomb (1992)

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» See also 56 mentions

English (12)  French (6)  Italian (3)  Dutch (2)  Spanish (1)  All languages (24)
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
A precocious adolescent would think this was a brilliant and profound book that reveals deep and ugly truths about humanity. As someone whose tastes have matured slightly in the last twenty-five years, I found the book merely brilliant -- an elegantly and satisfyingly constructed and conveyed story -- but not one I would want to read much more into.

The story is almost all dialogue between a terminally ill 83 year-old Nobel Prize winner in literature named Pretextat Tach and a series of journalists who are interviewing him. Tach is a physically and psychologically monstrous person -- cruelty and obesity being the least of his problems -- who has lived as a recluse for decades. His personal secretary arranges a limited number of interviews for him when he discovers he has just two months left to live.

Tach makes quick work of his first few interviewers, humiliating them with a combination of his quick wit and cruelty bulldozing its way through their comfortable assumptions. He is generally suspicious, with good reason, that any of them have even read let alone comprehended his impenetrable books.

But the final interviewer -- whose rapid and witty dialogue takes up the second half of this short novel -- turns the tables on Tach, repeatedly getting the better of him. This half of the novel is best read in a single sitting (in my case, it was interrupted by 5 hours of sleep), as the mounting back-and-forth, revelations about Tach, his interviewer, and the culmination of the book, all unfold.

The book would make a particularly good play or movie (it reminded me slightly of Death and the Maiden), although it was hard enough to read the descriptions of the monstrous Tach, I'm not sure what it would mean to actually watch him for two hours. ( )
  nosajeel | Jun 21, 2014 |
Oh good grief! The original French language audiobook is only 6h20 long, the paperback 221 pages. I only had one hour of listening left (or 30 pages) and just. couldn't. stand it. any more. So I quit. Because the idea of having to stay with the characters and the story for that much longer didn't break down to just 60 more minutes, but to 3,600,000 milliseconds of infinity. And after spending a half hour trying to figure out how I could occupy myself so I could get to the end without having to really listen, I realized I really needed to part with this book. The premise is interesting enough; an elderly author and Nobel prize laureate becomes the target of journalistic curiosity when it is announced his advanced rare form of cancer leaves him with less than two months to live. The author, Prétextat Tach is one of the most repulsive characters I've ever come across; morbidly obese, misanthropic, misogynistic to the nth degree, for starters. He has always previously refused to give interviews until now; four interviewers try their luck and within a few minutes are so mistreated by the author, who takes a sadistic pleasure in mentally torturing them, with, among other things, detailed descriptions of his nauseating culinary delights (various forms of pure fat feature prominently) that they all literally run away from their unfinished interviews. Then a fifth interviewer presents herself, determined to make Tach literally crawl at her feet and forces him to confess to an odious crime. The novel is mostly in the form of a dialogue. After listening to a few chapters, I already wasn't sure I'd get to the end, because the one thing that could have made me stomach this noxious brew would have been some element of humour or satire, but I failed to detect a trace of it beyond what seemed promising in the book description. I knew going into the book this was Nothomb's first novel, which was published when she was a mere twenty-five, but I'm sure that hadn't I known that fact, I would still have found the novel sophomoric. That Tach is disagreeable is clear, but the female journalist's hostility is what I found even more difficult to stomach, and I couldn't help but think that many sequences seemed to come from Nothomb's inner dialogue about why she felt she needed to complete this book. Of course, if I say DO NOT READ THIS BOOK, IT'S A COMPLETE WASTE OF TIME, you're likely to rush to it so you can find that out for yourself. If you do, could you please tell me how it ends in case I've missed the point entirely? ( )
1 vote Smiler69 | Jan 26, 2014 |
Interview d'un grand écrivain (fictif) par une journaliste pas comme les autres qui arrivera à lui tirer les vers du nez. Le thème du livre est très original et l'histoire vraiment très bien menée. Livre surprenant auquel il faut donner une chance. ( )
  Lhiscock | Oct 28, 2013 |
A very witty and satyrical book. Repulsive protagonist. Very clever dialogue. But rather depressing in the end. ( )
  Miguelnunonave | Aug 8, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
added by cinaedus | editThe Stranger, Paul Constant (Feb 6, 2011)
 

» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Amélie Nothombprimary authorall editionscalculated
Anderson, AlisonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bruno, BiancamariaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First words
When the imminent demise of the great writer Prétextat Tach became public knowledge—he was given two months to live—journalists the world over requested private interviews with the eighty-year-old gentleman.
Quotations
All it takes is to have done something once—but done it deeply—in order to do it again continually, throughout your entire life.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Tells the story of a reclusive and dying Nobel laureate novelist who grants access to five journalists for interviews. What they find is far from the literary luminary they imagined.

(summary from another edition)

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Voland Edizioni

3 editions of this book were published by Voland Edizioni.

Editions: 8888700587, 8886586221, 8888700153

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