[NOVEL] TOKYO FIANCÉE – AMÉLIE NOTHOMB

Summary: Amélie is a young language teacher living in Tokyo. When she succumbs to the attentions of her one and only student – the shy, wealthy, *may I also add “handsome”* and oh-so-Japanese Rinri – the lovers-to-be find themselves swept along by an affair that is as unusual as it is tender.

Why must pleasure always have a price? And why must one always pay for sensual delight with the loss of original lightness?

Just a personal note that this book is my favorite. Don’t know why I wait until now to write this. Also the book just has its movie adaption! Yayyy !! But I haven’t been able to watch it *cry*

Humor through lingual misunderstanding

One of the most noteworthy points is her humor through the use of language.

I bet Tokyo fiancée is perfect for those who are into languages. Nothomb has created a little clash between the East and the West, like many of her other novel about Japan and China, but this time using language. The misuse of simple French vocabulary by Rinri the 2nd year university  student in French language; the mistranslation of the Japanese way of “to play” by Amélie the know-it-all; and the most fun part – I let you guys discover yourself.

The worst accidents in life are accidents of language.

The effective use of lingual misunderstandings throughout the story has created a unique sense of humor.

Japanese culture

I have always been mesmerized by the culture of the Japanese people. Not the oh-so-noble-loyal-disciplined Japan, but the other side of it: manga and anime, loneliness and suicide, and gender inequality. Nothomb has uncovered the many cultural aspects of the nation of the Rising Sun, those that we look up to, those that we frown upon, and those we could never understand. She has portrait a detailed landscape of the Japanese through their behaviors, customs and especially perceptions.

My dream. Tradition holds that all Japanese people must climb Mount Fuji at least once in their life, for otherwise they do not deserve their prestigious nationality.

Or

When I was five, like all the other children, I took the tests to enter one of the best primary schools. If I passed, it meant that one day I could go to one of the best universities. I know this at the age of five. But I didn’t pass.

At the age of five I found out I was not intelligent enough.

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Sense of individual identity

I would not believe if someone tells me ‘this is a love story.’ Not at all. Although I would crown Rinri Prince-Charming of the year (and indeed appeared in my daydreaming for quite a long time), this is not a love story at all. It’s a book of self-discovery. You’d be thrilled with her on an adventure to once again experience her childhood dream, to realize her own capabilities, to learn the difference between ai (love) and koi (the copy of love), and discover the unknown of fate.

Personally, the ending is especially refreshing and tasteful for me.

Nothomb’s style of storytelling has the expected elegance of a French novel, yet at the same time it’s surprisingly humorous, honest and imaginative. However, I admit that not everyone I recommend this book will like it. But if one of your favorite tags are #Japan #culture #language #romance, it’s gonna an interesting adventure.

Hope you enjoy ! xD

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