Antichrista

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Antichrista
Author Amélie Nothomb
Original title Antéchrista
Country France
Language English translated from French
Genre Novel
Publication date
2003
Published in English
2005
Media type print
ISBN 0-571-22483-0
Preceded by The Book of Proper Names
Followed by The Life of Hunger

Antichrista (French: Antéchrista) is a Belgian novel by Amélie Nothomb. It was first published by "Éditions Albin Michel" in 2003 in France. It was translated into English in 2005.

Plot[edit]

The novel is about two female students, called Blanche and Christa.

Blanche (French: white, here: "ingénue"), a shy, inconspicuous and retiring girl, gets to know Christa at the University of Brussels and they become friends. Christa is the first real friend in Blanche’s life and that is why in the beginning she is very excited and nervous about their friendship. It turns out that Christa is the exact counterpart of Blanche: she is talented, brilliant and above all extremely popular. But it does not take Blanche long to figure out that Christa plays false and loose with her and slowly becomes her "headsman", the Antichrist. Therefore, Blanche has to overcome her trepidation and anxiety to get away from the "Antichrista" and save her family from an "apocalypse".[1][2][3][4]


Chronology[edit]

Week Chronology Plot
1 First day Blanche notices Christa’s smile
2 One week later Christa looks at Blanche
2 The following day (Monday) Christa talks to Blanche
2 Tuesday Christa is tired
2 The following day (Wednesday) Blanche invites Christa to her home
3 Monday Christa visits Blanche: torture and meeting with the parents
3 The following morning (Tuesday) Return to university; evening: Blanche practices Christa’s gymnastic exercises
3 The following day (Wednesday) Blanche feels lonely
4 The next Monday Christa is received enthusiastically by Blanche’s parents (Champagne)
4 A few days later Christa introduces Blanche to her friends
5 Monday night Blanche asks questions about Detlev and thinks about their friendship
6 The next Monday Christa neither shows up at university nor at the flat of the Hasts; Blanche’s parents are worried
6 The following day Christa shows up at university again
7 The subsequent Monday Blanche loses her parents; they propose to Christa to stay with them the whole week
7 Wednesday afternoon Christa moves in
7 Later at university Christa‘s self-display; Blanche's inner strength
7 In November Christa and Blanche go out: "Antichrista"
7 In this night Blanche‘s interiour dialogue
8 During several days Blanche ignores her intruder;
Nov/Dec The weekends were my liberation Blanche profits from her loneliness by reading all the time
Nov/Dec When Christa is back, which means Sunday evening to Friday afternoon Christa petrifies Blanche; the Antichrista gains ground
Nov/Dec During the week Christa takes Blanche out to many parties
Nov/Dec During the week The "adventure" with Sabine
Dec In December The exams: Blanche has a better grade in philosophy
Dec During the Christmas break Christa goes home; Blanche enjoys two weeks of freedom
Dec During the Christmas break The visit at aunt Ursula’s home
Dec New Year’s Eve Blanches parents think about Christa
Jan The evening of the 5th January They eat the "cake of the Twelfth Night": the apocalypse is close
Jan Three days a week Blanches parents invite guests to dinner to introduce Christa to them; they make fun of Blanche despite of her presence
Feb Holidays Christa goes home
Feb The day after Christa’s departure Blanche goes to Malmedy ("mal me dit"- "I am told bad things") for one day
Feb On the second day of the holidays Blanche shows the "proof" to her parents
Feb Sunday evening Private conversation of the family Hast with Christa; Christa packs her belongings
In spring One day… Short conversation between Christa and Blanche at university
In spring A few days later The letter from Mr. Bildung
In spring One morning A friend of Christa spits in Blanche’s face
In spring Later Insulting letters from Detlev and Christa’s mother
In spring Later University life becomes difficult for Blanche
In spring The evening before the Easter break Blanche arrives too late in a lecture: a Hollywood-style kiss for Christa
In spring Two weeks later The lectures continue – without Christa
Jun Time passes Blanche fails her exams, her parents go on holidays, she stays at home all alone
Aug On the 13th August Blanche’s 17th birthday, no party, not a single call; Blanche practices Christa’s gymnastic exercises without wanting to do so

In terms of the dynamics of the time structure, there are increasingly dramatic leaps in time; at the beginning, the action is told from day to day, whereas later in weekly steps (from Monday to Monday) and finally towards the end of the novel in monthly time intervals.

Blanche and Christa[edit]

The two main characters of the story are named Blanche and Christa. Blanche is a shy and reclusive 16-year-old girl. She is ashamed of her difficulties in approaching other persons (especially such of her own age). Christa represents the opposite of Blanche. She is also 16 years old and comes from Malmedy in the East of Belgium. Christa speaks German, laughs frequently and is very outgoing.

Christian symbols in the novel[edit]

None of the characters in this novel has a connection to or affinity for the Christian religion. Neither Blanche nor her parents nor Christa are practicing Christians. Nonetheless they use Christian metaphors, parables and symbols, e.g. the Parable of the Prodigal Son, the Epiphany, Antichrist, Apocalypse, Kiss of Judas, and Crucifixion. The references and parallels to Christian confession have lost their religious meaning in this novel and are associated with a negative connotation: Christa recklessly exploits the Parable of the Prodigal Son to distinguish herself. The Epiphany is debased to a farce. Christa is labeled ″Antichrista″ by Blanche because of her vicious intrigues. Christa′s satanic manipulations within the microcosm of the Hast family reaches an apocalyptic scale. The Kiss of Judas aids uncovering Christa′s maliciousness. The Crucifixion serves as an illustration for Blanche′s inner disunity.[5]

References[edit]