Monday, 11 November 2013

Loving Sabotage

by Amélie Nothomb

World War II ended in '45, but in the early 1970s for the children of the foreign ghetto in Beijing the armistice was an error. And the war restart with ferocity and courage among combatants of all nations, strictly under the age of 15.
In this war climate the little girl protagonist is going to deal with a force much more terrible and destructive than war: her first, troubled love.

Beautiful book, my favorite among those I read by Nothomb so far. From the perspective of a child among 5 and 7 years it speaks of so-called eternal themes: love, hate, friendship, war, and it does that so with irony, sagacity and great culture! More than once when I was reading I couldn't stifle a smile, and sometimes a laugh. More than once I reread several times a few sentences because it moved me at first reading. More than once I had to look for information on the internet being ashamed of my ignorance about authors and works cited in the book.
But most of all what I loved in this novel was the description of the infantile universe, a bit exaggerated, so even more extraordinary, but no less realistic. Children are virtually the only characters; adults, these decayed children who almost belong to another species, appear for a little, and almost always as party poopers.
And then there is China. Actually we see it only in passing, as we are relegated to the district of San Li Tun wich, as it is the residence of foreign diplomats, it has carefully kept in isolation from the "real" China. But it is; even with those few sentences, in the reflections of a little girl and in those of the adult narrator, even just to say why she's not talking about it, there's all a fascinating and contradictory Chinese world: Make no mistake, however: in the end, China has the same weight in these pages as the Black Death had in Bocaccio's Decameron: though hardly mentioned, it RAGES throughout. (Page 85, translation by Andrew Wilson)

Book Info

Title: Loving Sabotage
Author: Amélie Nothomb
Original title: Le sabotage amoureux
Italian title: Sabotaggio d'amore
Publication date: 1993
Publisher: Guanda
Italian translation: Alessandro Grilli
Pages: 124
aNobii: LINK

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