I personally have arrived late to feast at Amélie Nothomb's table. Here follow the thoughts of an individual who has encountered a new literary phenomenon ! For a more conventional review I recommend Mary Whipple's on this site.
At one level this short autobiographical novel is about an affair that takes place in Tokyo between a young part-time teacher, herself a student in Japan learning Japanese, and a young Japanese learning French. But at another it may be appreciated as the ultimate escapist literature. One must suspend one's everyday assumptions and go with the counter-flow, so to speak. It is pointless to try and hold onto a normal vision of reality. Every experience becomes enhanced, for better or for worse. To read Nothomb is to envisage trying to swim against the tide or to make the perfect mayonnaise in the dark ! It is a mind expanding experience, not without the risk of causing the intrepid reader a few nightmares subsequently. In other words I found it highly stimulating in a rather Gothic manner and would strongly recommend trying it. It must be less addictive and less noxious than cocaine !
An addendum about the title which is boringly self-explanatory in English. In French it is called "Ni d'Eve, ni d'Adam" named after a particularly forgettable film directed by Jean Paul Giveyrac and released in 1997. It must have appealed to Nothomb because it can vaguely be translated as "Nobody's Child" - which turns out to be far more revealing about the author of this book.