Amelie Nothomb is a star. She can take the most seemingly inconsequential of subject matters and turn it into something wonderful. She has a very distinctive voice as a writer, so each of her novels, all barely more than 100 pages each, sound like her.
Antichrista lacks a bit of the wonder of Amelie's earlier novels in that the storyline seems a little bland on the face of it. It lacks the hyper-intelligent children and the incredible dancers of some of her other works. In long and short, it is about a friendless and plain girl named Blanche who thinks she finds a friend in the beautiful Christa. But Christa is really not as nice as all that, wheedling her way into Blacnhe's home, taking over Blanche's life and bullying her mercilessly. But, upon reading the book you sense so many levels beyond this. How hateful Christa is, how elaborate her lies, how pathetic and weak Blanche really is and how her relationship with her parents deteriorates when Christa appears on the scene.
It makes uncomfortable reading. Christa is such a evil, terrible character. She could've easily been drawn out to be a femme fatale, but she is not. Amelie has left us with nothing to like about her. And the fact that everyone loves her, blind to what she's doing to Blanche, is most frustrating. I found myself angry at the characters throughout the novel.
Yet the novel is completley absorbing. I found myself completley embroiled in their world. I couldn't have put this down if I'd tried.