Loving Sabotage Hardcover – 25 Apr 2001
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'A bold, ambitious and subversive piece of storytelling. -- The Times
Stunningly original The portrayal of ensuing loss of childhood innocence is both fiercely comic and painfully cruel. -- Observer --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
About the Author
Belgian by nationality, Amélie Nothomb was born in Kobe, Japan, and currently lives in Paris. Described by Time Magazine as 'prolific and ingenious', she is the best-selling author of numerous novels, translated into over thirty languages, including Fear and Trembling which won the Grand Prix of the Académie Française and the Prix Internet du Livre, and The Book of Proper Names which has sold over 250,000 copies in France. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Top customer reviews
Northomb is an author I have recently discovered and devoured. This book is a very different read than Fear and Trembling..because it focuses on what motivates a child's behaviour. Read it
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
In the midst of this atmosphere, young Amelie (and the author, in an afterword, maintains that the story is a true one, that even the names have not been changed) is pretty much left to fend for herself during the days. She rides her bicycle (she refers to it as her horse) through the Peking streets, offended that the Chinese guards at the compound gate do not see her as a threat to them. She has an active imagination -- one of the blessings of being seven years old -- and sees herself in vivid roles as a hero. The other children in the compound seem to be growing up the same way, and to amuse themselves, they engage in what they call a 'war' with the children of the East German diplomats.
With the arrival of a beautiful little girl named Elena, the child of an Italian diplomat and his South American wife, Amelie feels for the first time in her young life the magnetic pull of love for another person. She is entranced and obsessively infatuated with the little girl, who is cold and distant -- which only serves to make her more of an attraction. The lessons Amelie learns about love and friendship -- and the observations she shares with us of her world -- make this a touching, readable book. The feeling I was left with after reading it was one of sadness -- there's a lot of loneliness and heartbreak in this story, lessons that are tough to see a child learn by herself.
Nothomb's writing is a little choppy -- but that is most likely appropriate in this case, given the age of the narrator. In retrospect, I think it added some authenticity to that aspect of the story. I definitely want to read more of this author's work in order to gain a better perspective on her style and talents.
This is a brilliant, engrossing little book that portrays the self-centered, omniscient bliss of childhood in the setting of Communist China. China is not so much a driving force or a character in itself as a spectre in the background, tainting all of the narrator's experiences ever so slightly. Descriptions are passionate and vibrant, and the narrator embodies childhood perfectly: idealistic but without pretense or illusion, and comfortable in the belief that their little world is all that matters.
I was fascinated by this book, and loved everything from the narrator's humorous descriptions of her exploits to the unrestrained emotion and nostalgia the author so deftly maintains throughout.