Stupeur et Tremblement [Fear and Trembling] by Amélie Nothomb

Read: 6 November, 2007

The story is fairly simple. A Belgian woman was born in Japan and returns in her early twenties to work in a large shipping company. Once there, she discovers a rigid code of conduct that demands she suppress her individuality and intelligence for the company. The autobiographical story is a fairly short and simple read. It is alternately thought-provoking and comical.

The story’s greatest strength lies in its characterisations. The narrator and her boss, Mori Fubuki, receive the most attention in this respect, but the pictures Nothomb paints of the other characters are equally enchanting and, at times, frightening.

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