Fear and Trembling (by Amelie Nothomb)

a book review by Richard Seltzer, seltzer@samizdat.com, www.samizdat.com

This slim book (just 132 pages) is delightful and engaging.  You'll want to read it in a single sitting.

The author, who was born in Japan, describes the experiences of someone like herself, having returned to Tokyo, working for a Japanese corporation, and smashing into European/Japanese cultural differences every time she turns a corner.  This unpretentious tale reads like a cross between Kafka and Charlie Chaplin.  Very little happens.  Very little needs to happen.  The heart of the story is the narrator's perspective, and how it changes -- from her first enthusiastic day on the job to the day, a year later, when she resigns.  All the characters are drawn in bold exaggerated style -- as caricatures, which helps make them memorable and comic; and is a constant reminder that the story should not be taken seriously: just enjoyed.

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