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The Life of Hunger [Paperback]

Amelie Nothomb , Shaun Whiteside
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
RRP: £9.99
Price: £8.84 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Book Description

6 July 2006

In a wistful, tough, funny, clever, and characteristically odd memoir-cum-novel, Amelie Nothomb casts herself as hunger: hunger for experience, hunger for life, hunger for sweetness and, in what is the book's nucleus, hunger for hunger (the period during which she was afflicted by acute anorexia).

The daughter of a Belgian diplomat, Amelie had an itinerant childhood, ranging from Tokyo to Peking and Paris to New York by way of Bangladesh. Recounting these formative journeys right up to her return to Japan in 1989, and the Kobe earthquake, The Life of Hunger is an extraordinary examination of the self, and perhaps Amelie's most mature and moving work to date.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Faber and Faber (6 July 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571229530
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571229536
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 13.4 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 952,723 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"'We should welcome Nothomb's books in whatever form they arrive; such elegance and fierceness are rare.' Times Literary Supplement"

Book Description

The latest novel from the French megastar, now in paperback --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written 12 Nov 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is the first book by this author I have read and now I am keen to read more of her work. Not a long book but gracefully written. I have just bought it as a present to a friend.
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4.0 out of 5 stars light, bright and sparkling 18 Jun 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book covers the author's early life as the daughter of a diplomat - 4 years in Japan, followed by China, New York, Bangladesh, with a short ocda in Burma.

All this is linked by reflections on "hunger". The term's stretched a bit - the book starts with a short philosophical consideration of Vanuatu, never desired by anyone because life there is too easy and there is no hunger, goes on to consider real hunger in China, but hunger for experience on the part of the author (largely ecstatic experience, whether the hunt for sweet things to eat, the pleasures of drinking water as a child in vast quantities, or of getting drunk freely as a child on alcohol) but also finally anorexia - not really a state of hunger at all.

Written with great delicacy and lightness of touch, the personal impressions of each place and brought vividly to life as is the emergent sensibility of the author. It's a book to read at one or two sittings and to re-read (to work out how the author has worked her magic on you).

Pain enters this story and harsh personal experience, but you would hardly think this as you read. It's a remarkable blend of distance from and sympathy with chilhood and adolescent experience and philosophical speculation on hunger that is ultimately not convincing, but that is never less than compelling as you read.

In short, highly recommended!
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4.0 out of 5 stars slight but appealing 8 July 2008
By Mrs. K. A. Wheatley TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
This is more of a novella. The chapters are a couple of pages at most. It purports to be a story of the author's life, but is written with such novelistic flair it is hard to know how much of it is true and how much has been 'fictionalized'. It is beautifully written and a nice mixture of reminiscence, philosophy and at times is very poetic.

It tells the story of the author as she was growing into adulthood and her 'hunger' for emotions, experiences and feelings. She flirts with the onset of her anorexia but this is barely mentioned at all until the last few pages of the book and is only a tiny part of her obsession with hunger in general.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Still left with a little hunger for more detail 16 Aug 2006
This book is beautifully written. From the first paragraphs it grabs you like one of those rare poems that get inside your head to show you someone else knows how it feels or maybe just that specific food you've been craving for days.

Although as a novel about the author's childhood it works well, as a study of her hunger, it lacks a little in the second half. The subject of anorexia is clearly not the author's main topic here, but it could have been made so much more of, and helped to back up her novel's theme with more impact and resonance than she allows.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Amelie winner 26 May 2013
By Book Lover - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a great read by an intriguing writer. If you have not read anything by her, then start buying. she will engage you with fascinating language and interesting ideas that last long after you read ht last page.
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