February 13, 2008

Fear and Trembling

Stupeur et TremblementsTintin got me Stupeur et tremblements for my birthday. It's originally a French novelette by Amélie Nothomb that I believe is autobiographical in nature. Amélie immigrates to Japan for the purpose of working at a Japanese company for one year. The cultural and corporate differences coupled with her gaijin status create a uniquely amusing yet ridiculously horrific experience for her. What she thinks shows good initiative or understanding in fact results in suspicion or corporate loss of face. Those she thinks are nice are in fact quick to betray. Hopes will be casually dashed by the inadvertent comments of a superior. In sum, a world of social politics that is like a mine field for Amélie and her coworkers.

The translation reads very easily, and the book itself looks as if published for a young teen audience with large type and lots of white space. There isn't any difficult vocabulary and the sentence structure is simple. I wonder though, as it was originally written in French, just how well it translates. It seems like a lot of the amusement would depend a lot on how it was written by the author. So perhaps something was lost in the translation. I actually finished the entire book in one sitting, but it's not a whole lot of pages so that's not much of a feat anyway.

Posted by josuah at February 13, 2008 1:47 AM UTC+00:00

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