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Fear and trembling
Amelie Nothomb
Adult Fiction NOTHOMB

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Following on the heels of her American debut (Loving Sabotage), Belgian novelist Nothomb's sharp, satiric new novelÄwinner of France's Grand Prix de l'Academie Fran‡aise and the Prix Internet du LivreÄrevolves around a young Western woman's humiliations at a Tokyo firm. At age 22, Am‚lie has just landed a bottom-rung job in the import-export division of the powerful Yumimoto Corporation. As a European woman raised partly in Japan, she is at once insider and outsider: she is accused of creating an "appalling tension" by speaking perfect Japanese while serving coffee at a meeting ("How could our business partners have any feeling of trust in the presence of a white girl who understands their language?"), and is ordered to speak only English henceforth. She is awed by her immediate superior, the beautiful and unusually tall Fubuki Mori (whose name means "snowstorm" in Japanese). Fubuki, 29 and still unmarried, has earned her position in the face of debilitating sexism and brutal treatment at the hands of her superiors, especially the ranting, obese Mr. Omochi. Kindly Mr. Tenshi gives Am‚lie a rare opportunity to prove herself by allowing her to work on an important report; enraged, Fubuki betrays them both, sealing the young girl's fate. Despite her intelligence, Am‚lie is unable to complete the Sisyphean tasks doled out by her superiors, and Fubuki eventually relegates her to cleaning the rest rooms. Nothomb maintains a humorous and effective detachment throughoutÄAm‚lie, for instance, finds comfort in a recurring fantasy of falling through one of the company's 44th-floor windows. Readers are sure to be won over by her spare, self-deprecating and wise tale, which contains many smarting truths about sexism and racism in Japanese society, and even more about the rituals of corporate culture. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Winner of many literary prizes in France, Nothomb (Loving Sabotage, Stranger Next Door) presents an utterly charming, humorous tale of East meets West in her newest novel about a young Belgian woman who works for a year in Japan, a country that she has revered and admired since childhood. At the Yumimoto Corporation, a huge export/import business, the chain of command is made very clear to her on a daily basis, and all initiative is snuffed out. After several crucial errors, our heroine's career ends up in the toilet, literally. Nothomb is a terrific writer whose writing style is simple, honest, and elegant. Very highly recommended for all libraries.DLisa Rohrbaugh, East Palestine Memorial P.L., OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Amelie
Female
Age: 22
French
Works for a Japanese import-export firm.
Businesswoman

Fubuki Mori
Female
Age: 29
Japanese
Amelie's immediate superior.
Executive



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