Sunday, 9 February 2014
fear and trembling with loving sabotage
Fellow blogger Kitty Hannah suggested Amélie Nothomb would be a good read and so I planned to download a novel onto Kindle. It wasn't to be, because only the French editions were available.
I persisted and ordered the paperbacks in English, which arrived in time for me to take them to my temporary bunker on the east side of London.
The two I picked are both autobiographical of what I learn to be a thoughtful and quirky individual.
In 'Fear and Trembling' she's working in an office in the hierarchies of Japan. She's become an office flower/OL/office lady/shokuba no hana and has a female boss, who should, by rights, have left the office to get married to a salaryman. It's the story of demeaning tasks, a stilted office protocol and a real type of fear built into the system.
It unpacks slowly and with several very graphical scenes, as well as some interesting mind diversions, almost all within the closed walls of the office. I found it a fascinating evocation of the very strange working world seen through western eyes.
And for another author, here's three of the different cover-arts.
Then backwards to China, where she was at a younger age, in the ghetto of the diplomatic classes, again locked away behind walls this time in '70s Beijing.
Aside: Notice that my copy at the top of the post has a different typeface from the one below. Marketing to bring the set to a consistent look?
There was a moment during the week when a 'blockbuster TV show' was about to start - something I'd usually enjoy - but instead I found myself thinking I'd prefer to see how Amélie was getting on with Elena in 'Loving Sabotage.'
I found them both highly enjoyable reads, and an insight into the author's thinking. Thanks, Kitty, for what proved to be an excellent suggestion.