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© Denis Vautravers



Amélie Nothomb by Sophie Narayan


orn in Kobe in 1967 to Belgian diplomat parents, Amélie Nothomb stayed in Japan until she was 5. Her family subsequently moved to China, New York, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Laos. For Nothomb, the move from Japan was a “wrenching separation.” After having published eight books— and still only in her early twenties— Nothomb decided to move back to the country of her birth. The experience inspired two more novels: Fear and Trembling (1999) and Tokyo Fiancée (2007). The former title, which sold more than half a million copies in France alone and won the prestigious Grand Prix de l’Académie Française, is largely autobiographical; the book’s main character, Amélie, decides to spend a year working at a Japanese company in Tokyo. Misunderstanding the intricate

codes that govern relationships between employees and their superiors, Amélie’s time at the company quickly turns into a period of humiliation. In Tokyo Fiancée, the author describes her life outside of work, and the novel warmly and humorously explores her romantic relationship with Rinri, a 20-yearold Japanese student whom she meets while giving private French lessons. Romance, faux pas and funny insights ensue. While Tokyo Fiancée is a swift and entertaining read, it also examines how well we can

kid s' co rn e r

a preview of what’s on for the Club’s young, inquiring minds

ABCs and 123s by Erica Kawamura

Learning English is so much fun at the Library’s weekly sessions of games, songs and crafts for children with English as their second language. Numbers, letters, shapes and colors are just some of the exciting elements of this entertaining curriculum. Wednesdays (June 3, 10, 17 and 24) 4–4:30 p.m. Children’s Library Free No sign-up necessary

14 June 2009 iNTOUCH

know ourselves and other cultures. With her sharp prose, Nothomb’s short works are an uncommon delight. And for those of us fortunate enough to have experienced Japan, they should inspire plenty of recognition, too. Nothomb now lives in Paris. Since 1992, she has published a novel every year. Her books have been translated into 37 languages. ® The Library currently stocks Fear and Trembling, The Life of Hunger (2004) and Tokyo Fiancée.


Toddler Time The Library’s Erica Kawamura hosts an exciting session of arts, crafts and storytelling every Tuesday and Thursday for preschoolers and their moms. Tuesday, 10:30 a.m. (June 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30) Thursday, 4 p.m. (June 4, 11, 18 and 25) Children’s Library Free No sign-up necessary

Summer Reading Program The Club’s popular program for young book lovers returns for another summer of themed fun. Find out more in next month’s iNTOUCH.

iNTOUCH June 2009  

Tokyo American Club’s monthly magazine, iNTOUCH

iNTOUCH June 2009  

Tokyo American Club’s monthly magazine, iNTOUCH