Amélie Nothomb

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Amélie Nothomb
Amélie Nothomb 02828 G.Garitan.jpg
Born Fabienne-Claire Nothomb.[1]
(1966-07-09) 9 July 1966 (age 49)
Etterbeek, Belgium
Occupation Writer
Nationality Belgian
Notable works Stupeur et tremblements

Baroness Amélie Nothomb (born Fabienne-Claire; 9 July 1966 in Etterbeek, Belgium)[1] is a Belgian writer who writes in French.


Amélie Nothomb, born Fabienne Claire Nothomb, was born in Etterbeek, Belgium on 9 July 1966, to Belgian diplomats.[2] Although Nothomb claims to have been born in Japan,[citation needed] she actually began living in Japan at the age of two until she was five years old.[citation needed] Subsequently, she lived in China, New York, Bangladesh, Burma, the United Kingdom (Coventry) and Laos.[3] She is from a distinguished Belgian political family: she is the grandniece of Charles-Ferdinand Nothomb, a Belgian foreign minister (1980–1981), and great granddaughter of writer and politician Pierre Nothomb. She has one brother and one sister, Juliette Nothomb.

Nothomb's first novel, Hygiène de l'assassin, was published in 1992. Since then, she has published approximately one novel per year, including Les Catilinaires (1995), Fear and Trembling (1999) and Métaphysique des tubes (2000, published in English as The Character of Rain). She has been awarded numerous prizes, including the 1999 Grand Prix du roman de l'Académie française, the Prix René-Fallet, and the 1993 Prix Alain-Fournier.

While in Japan, Nothomb attended a local school and learned Japanese. When she was five, the family moved to China. "Quitter le Japon fut pour moi un arrachement" ("Leaving Japan was a wrenching separation for me"), she wrote in Fear and Trembling. She studied philology at the Université Libre de Bruxelles. After some family tensions and having finished her studies, Nothomb returned to Japan to work in a Japanese company in Tokyo. Her experience of this time, although its authenticity has been critically called to question, is told in Fear and Trembling.[4]

She wrote a romanticized biography (The Book of Proper Names) for the French female singer Robert in 2002 and during the period 2000–2002 she wrote the lyrics for nine tracks of the same artist.

A documentary was directed by Laureline Amanieux about Amélie's return to Japan where she finds the beauty of the landscapes, the peace of the rites of the country, the sadness of Fukushima, but especially, the arms of her Japanese nursemaid, Nishio San.[5]

By Royal Decree of 8 July 2015 Nothomb was ennobled as a non-hereditary baroness.


(in French)
Type Original title English title English publication details
1992 book Hygiène de l'assassin Hygiene and the Assassin Europa Editions, hardback, 2010 ISBN 978-1-933372-77-8
1993 book Le Sabotage amoureux Loving Sabotage W. W. Norton & Co, hardback, 2000, ISBN 0-8112-1459-1
Faber and Faber, paperback, 2003, ISBN 0-571-22663-9
1993 tale Légende un peu chinoise
(Longue Vue)
1994 play Les Combustibles Human Rites Oberon Books, paperback, 2005, ISBN 1-84002-539-5
1995 book Les Catilinaires The Stranger Next Door Holt (Henry) & Co, hardback, 1996, ISBN 0-8050-4841-3
1996 book Péplum
1996 14 pages short story Électre
1996 short story L'Existence de Dieu
(La Revue Générale)
1997 book Attentat
1998 book Mercure
1999 book Stupeur et tremblements Fear and Trembling Faber and Faber, paperback, 2002, ISBN 0-571-22048-7
1999 39 pages short story Le Mystère par excellence
(Le Grand livre du mois)
2000 book Métaphysique des tubes The Character of Rain Faber and Faber, paperback, 2003, ISBN 0-571-22049-5
2000 3 tales Brillant comme une casserole
(La Pierre d'Alun)
2001 book Cosmétique de l'ennemi The Enemy's Cosmetique
2001 2 pages short story Aspirin
2001 64 pages short story Sans nom
2002 book Robert des noms propres The Book of Proper Names Faber and Faber, paperback, 2004, ISBN 0-571-22344-3
2003 book Antéchrista Antichrista Faber and Faber, paperback, 2004, ISBN 0-571-22483-0
2004 46 pages short story L'Entrée du Christ à Bruxelles
2004 book Biographie de la faim The Life of Hunger Faber and Faber, hardback, 2006
2005 book Acide sulfurique Sulphuric Acid Faber and Faber, hardback, 2007
2006 book Journal d'Hirondelle
2007 book Ni d'Eve, ni d'Adam Tokyo Fiancée Europa Editions, hardback, 2008
2007 short story in 9 episodes Les Champignons de Paris (Charlie Hebdo)
2008 book Le Fait du prince The Prince's Act Éditions Albin Michel
2009 book Le Voyage d'Hiver The Winter Journey Éditions Albin Michel
2010 book Une forme de vie Life Form Europa Editions, hardback, forthcoming
2011 book Tuer le père Éditions Albin Michel
2012 book Barbe bleue Éditions Albin Michel
2013 book La nostalgie heureuse Éditions Albin Michel
2014 book Petronille Éditions Albin Michel

Unless otherwise stated, all works were originally published in French by Éditions Albin Michel.

Audio books[edit]

Eight of Amélie Nothomb's novels were adapted in the form of audio books, four first ones were published by the editions "VDB", the others by "Audiolib" :

  • Robert des noms propres (=The Book of Proper Names): Amélie Nothomb (author) and Véronique Groux de Miéri (narrator), La Roque-sur-Pernes, "Éditions VDB", 1 March 2003 (ISBN 978-2-84694-068-9) (Note BNF(FRENCH NATIONAL LIBRARY) no FRBNF39186856q).

Support: 3 audio CD (lasted: 3:15 am min, complete text), ref. V.D.B. 008.

  • Antéchrista (=Antichrista): Amélie Nothomb (author) and Véronique Groux de Miéri (narrator), La Roque-sur-Pernes, "Éditions VDB", 1 March 2004 (ISBN 978-2-84694-281-2) (Note BNF(FRENCH NATIONAL LIBRARY) no FRBNF412025642).

Support: 3 audio CD (lasted: 2:52 am min, complete text), ref. V.D.B. 033. Musical illustration: Thierry Duhamel.

  • Biographie de la faim (=The life of hunger): Amélie Nothomb (author) and Véronique Groux de Miéri (narrator), La Roque-sur-Pernes, "Éditions VDB", 1 March 2005 (ISBN 978-2-84694-281-2) (Note BNF(FRENCH NATIONAL LIBRARY) no FRBNF40227909h).

Support: 4 audio CD (lasted: 4:17 am min, complete text), ref. V.D.B. 074. Musical illustration: Thierry Duhamel.

  • Acide sulfurique (=Sulphuric acid): Amélie Nothomb (author) and Véronique Groux de Miéri (narrator), La Roque-sur-Pernes, "Éditions VDB", 1 March 2006 (ISBN 978-2-84694-403-8) (Note BNF(FRENCH NATIONAL LIBRARY) no FRBNF40227903f).

Support: 3 audio CD (lasted: 5:39 am min, complete text), ref. V.D.B. 104. Musical illustration: Thierry Duhamel.

  • Ni d'Eve, ni d'Adam (=Tokyo Fiancée): Amélie Nothomb (author) and Sylvie Testud (narrator), Paris, "Audiolib", 13 February 2008 (ISBN 978-2-35641-012-2) (Note BNF(FRENCH NATIONAL LIBRARY) no FRBNF412025642).

Support: 1 audio CD (lasted: 3:50 am min, complete text), ref. Audiolib 25 0012 02.

  • Le fait du prince (=The prince's act): Amélie Nothomb (author) and Patrick Waleffe (narrator), Paris, "Audiolib", 21 January 2009 (ISBN 978-2-356-41048-1) (Note BNF(FRENCH NATIONAL LIBRARY) no FRBNF414068348).

Support: 1 audio CD (lasted: 3:00 am min, complete text), ref. Audiolib 25 0049 4.

  • Le voyage d'hiver (=The winter journey): Amélie Nothomb (author) and Thibault de Montalembert (narrator), Paris, "Audiolib", 9 September 2009 (ISBN 978-2-35641-093-1) (Note BNF(FRENCH NATIONAL LIBRARY) no FRBNF42044512x).

Support: 2 audio CD (lasted: 1:54 am min, complete text), ref. Audiolib 25 0129 4.

  • Une forme de vie (=A form of life): Amélie Nothomb (author) and Frédéric Meaux (narrator), Paris, "Audiolib", 13 October 2010 (ISBN 978-2-356-41245-4) (Note BNF(FRENCH NATIONAL LIBRARY) no FRBNF42285807k).

Support: 1 audio CD (lasted: 2:42 am min, complete text), ref. Audiolib 25 281 3.

Film adaptations[edit]

  • 1999 : Hygiène de l'assassin (Hygiene and the Assassin), French movie directed by François Ruggieri, with Jean Yanne (Prétextat Tach) and Barbara Schulz (Nina).
  • 2003 : Stupeur et tremblements (Fear and Trembling), French movie directed by Alain Corneau with Sylvie Testud (Amélie) and Kaori Tsuji (Fubuki).

Stage adaptations[edit]

  • Le sabotage amoureux (English: Loving sabotage), Theater Le Ranelagh, Paris, 1999

With Valérie Mairesse, Pétronille de Saint-Rapt, Vanessa Jarry Direction: Annabelle Milot

  • Le sabotage amoureux (Loving Sabotage), Theater Daniel-Sorano, Vincennes, 2003–2005

With Pauline Foschia, Jeanne Gougeau, Laurence Vielle Adaptation et direction: Brigitte Bailleux, Laurence Vielle

  • Cosmétique de l'ennemi (The Enemy's Cosmetique), "La Compagnie des Sept Lieux", Suisse, 2003–2008

With John Durand and Olivier Renault Adaptation and direction: Emmanuel Samatani and Jean-Daniel Uldry

  • Les combustibles (Human Rites), Theater Daniel-Sorano, Vincennes, March – April 2008

With Michel Boy, Julie Turin, Grégory Gerrebo Direction: Stéphane Cottin

  • Métaphysique des tubes (The Character of Rain), 2007–2009

With Cécile Schletzer and Claire Rieussec Direction: Claire Rieussec

  • Hygiène de l'assassin (Hygiene and the Assassin), Theater of Namur and Theater "le Public", Bruxelles, September – October 2008

With Daniel Hanssens, Nathalie Cornet, Valérie Marchand and Vincent Lécuyer Direction: Pierre Santini

  • Biographie de la Faim (The Life of Hunger), Theater of "La Place des Martyrs", Bruxelles, April – May 2009

With Nathalie Cornet, Michel Hinderyckx, Jessica Gazon, Stéphanie Blanchoud… Adaptation and direction: Christine Delmotte

  • Les Combustibles (Human Rites), Theater of Nesle, Paris, 16 September 2010 – 2 October 2010

With Philippe Doré, Freddy Zimmer, Florine Moreau Direction: Hubert Vinzani

  • Stupeur et Tremblements (Fear and Trembling), Theater "Le Petit Hébértot", Paris, 18 March 2011 – 22 May 2011

With Layla Metssitane Adaptation and direction: Layla Metssitane

Texts of songs[edit]

  • For Juliette Gréco: "Le pont Juliette" (= "the Juliet Bridge"); text read by Guillaume Gallienne (2011)
  • For the singer Robert: "L'appel de la succube" (="The call of succubus") (2000), "A la guerre comme à la guerre" (="You have to make the best of things"), "Le chant des sirènes" (="The siren song"), "Celle qui tue" (="the One who kills"), "Nitroglycérine", "Requiem pour une soeur perdue" (= "Requiem for a lost sister"),"Sorcière" (= "Witch") (2002)

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b État présent de la noblesse belge, éditions of 1979, 1995 and 2010. Her birth is announced in n° 87, aout 1967, p. 340 of the Bulletin de l'association de la noblesse du royaume de Belgique, publication trimestrielle : Annonces de naissance : "Baron et Baronne Patrick Nothomb : Fabienne, 9 juillet 1966".
  2. ^ Ireland, Benjamin Hiramatsu. "Amélie Nothomb's Distorted Truths: Birth, Identity, and Stupeur et tremblements.” New Zealand Journal of French Studies 33.1 (2012): 135–156.
  3. ^ Ireland, Benjamin Hiramatsu. "Amélie Nothomb's Distorted Truths." 142.
  4. ^
  5. ^ [1]