Since I discovered her work, thanks to a very special friend, Amélie Nothomb became one of my favorite authors. She writes two novels a year, but only one gets published. I have read the ones that are translated into Spanish and I have finished them all in one sitting.
Her novels do not usually exceed 160 pages and are quite friendly to those who don´t have much of a reading habit. She uses simple language that flows naturally, and in my opinion, part of her charm is that suddenly, in the midst of what might seem as anecdotes, she achieves moments of great depth. She also has a wonderful way of addressing the children´s universe and like most artists, her work has more than one meaning.
Among the recurring themes in her work, are writing, her childhood as the daughter of a Belgian diplomat based in Japan (several of her novels are autobiographical) and metaphors about food.
I enjoyed some of her books more than others, but I like them all. My recommendation for today is A Winter Journey, whose title was inspired by Schubert´s musical piece of the same name.
I will not tell you anything about the plot, but I will share a few phrases that caught my attention when reading it.
- "At forty there are so few survivors that you feel tormented by a tragic sense. At forty, one is necessarily mourning."
- "Delighting with someone else´s mediocrity remains the height of mediocrity. "
- "There is no failure in love. It is a contradiction in terms. Experiencing love is already a triumph, so much of a triumph that we could ask ourselves why we want more."
- "Feeling love is a gift in itself, an absolute state of alert which abolishes any other reality."
- "Falling in love in winter is not a good idea. Symptoms are more sublime and more painful. Seamless light cold stimulates the grim delight of the wait. Chills enhance the unrest. Whoever falls around Saint Lucia is exposed to three months pathological tremors. "
- "No terrorist has acted without an ideal, an atrocious one, but an ideal. (...) This ideal, whether religious, nationalist or otherwise, always takes the form of a word. Koestler rightly said that what most deaths caused on earth is the language. "
- "I was like everyone: I was afraid of abnormal people. I was unable to overcome the primitive terror.".