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Tokyo Fiancee

by Amelie Nothomb
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Product Details

  • Publisher: Europa Editions
  • Publishing date: 30/12/2008
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 9781933372648
  • ISBN: 1933372648

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  • Reviews from Brizmus Blogs Books
    From Amazon

    Amelie Nothomb is some weird mixture of French and Belgian and Japanese that I still don't quite understand. And my attempts at understanding left me occasionally confused. Despite each of her works being separated memoirs, each of which can supposedly be read not in conjunction with the others, I feel like, if I wanted to better understand this book, I should have read some of her other works, which she constantly referenced, first. She seemed to just assume, in any case, that I knew all of these things about her that I didn't know. This would have been okay, except that her simplistic writing style was, in a weird way, captivating, and it left me feeling exceedingly curious. I WANTED to know more about her. Her story of living in Japan and her relationship with a somewhat eccentric Japanese man (well, eccentric, from what I know, for a Japanese man) was fascinating. I loved Amelie and Rinri together; I loved the way their relationship advanced in what she described as a "typical Japanese fashion." I really felt like I understood what it would be like for a westerner to date a Japanese man in Japan. I also loved the brief glimpse I got of what it must be like for a Westerner to live in Japan, and I can only hope that my stay here will be as full of exciting things as hers was. Unfortunately, my love of all of these things left me absolutely HATING her by the end of the book. Hating her for the type of person she is and some of the things she did. Funny story: the day after I finished this book, I met up with a friend at a cafe in Paris, and I just do happened to end up at a table RIGHT NEXT TO Amelie Nothomb. And it was very difficult to me to conceal my disgust with her. I literally had to stop myself from getting up and asking her "HOW DARE YOU!" or telling her how disgusted I felt with her after reading her book. She was so egotistical, spoiled, ridiculous, and self-centered that it was a wonder anyone could manage to fall in love with her. It was therefore hard for me to enjoy the book as a whole, even though the writing style was quite lovely and some of the content was brilliant and extraordinarily honest. Because I sort of hated her, the protagonist. And yet it was at the same time compelling enough that I want to go back and read her previous works. To give her the opportunity to redeem herself in my eyes.

  • Toyko Finacee is a Delight
    From Amazon

    This is not really a novel, but a personal memoir written by Belgian author Amelie Nothomb. Amelie was born in Japan and lived there with her diplomat parents until the age of five. She adores Japan and its culture and returns when she is twenty-one. To earn some money she places an ad to advertise her services as a French tutor. A twenty year old Japanese student, Rinri, contacts her for help as he is majoring in French. She begins by being his sensei, his teacher, but quickly they become involved in a romance. Rinri comes from a wealthy family and shuttles Amelie around Tokyo and beyond in his white Mercedes. The clash of culture quickly arises when she meets his parents. His mother is shocked by the fact that she doesn't wear pantyhose under her dress despite the stifling Tokyo summer heat. The book is a look at the clash of two cultures with often hilarious results. Two of the most beautiful scenes in the book involve Amelie's excursions up Mt. Fiji or surrounding mountains. "It's impossible to narrate the sublime', Nothomb writes, but that is exactly what she does with her glorious prose. Amelie revels in her solitary acts and therein lies the problem at the heart of the book. Rinri adores her and wants to marry her. With marriage would come citizenship in this country that she adores, as well as financial security. Rinri is depicted as loving and kind. In fact the one negative in the book is that he seems too perfect. She totally enjoys his companionship, but she doesn't love Rinri.She loves her freedom. This entails a decision, one with which Amelie must come to terms. This is a beautiful little book, particularly for those interested in Japanese culture.

  • Delightful
    From Amazon

    I liked the book. It's breezy, fresh, unusual, fun. The only part that didn't quite work for me was the last section when the novel suddenly seems to become a factual autobiography. But I like the book and will someday read it again.

  • Mr. Butterfly
    From Amazon

    I have to say that I enjoyed Tokyo Fiancee very much, although I don't like the protagonist at all. The quality of the writing is superb--conveying in through minimalism a very Japanese sense of the emotional relationship between the author as a younger woman and her Japanese "fiancee." Certain of the episodes in the memoir convey powerfully the sense of utter absorption to be found in the landscapes of Japan. A great deal of cultural context is conveyed in a painless natural way as well. The character of Rinri is absolutely wonderful--a look at a Japanese hu-man, without the negative stereotyping so prevalent elsewhere. So, why only three stars? Because it is so impossible to like what the author conveys in her own character. She has, essentially, used the feelings and life of this sincere, loving man, to engage in a colonization of Japan that is emotional rather than economic. There is something profoundly immoral about her treatment of Rinri, and, by extension, his family. So disturbing.

  • So overrated
    From Amazon

    this is a very basic romantic novel that reinforces all the possible stereotypes about Japan (weather, parties, fondue, yakuza) and shows a lack of emotional depth in her daily (biographical) choices. That is even without considering the self-congratulatory end. I read it in an afternoon and suggest to read Mishima, Murakami, Kirino to understand the real Japan rather than the tourist Japan.

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