I was just doing that stroll around the shelves thing when my eyes lit
on the Literature in Translation section. This sounds a bit pretentious
but a while back it seemed like a category I needed to establish, books
filed by original language and it's proved invaluable. I spend a lot of
time there, stroking the Joseph Roth collection for a start and then he
segues into my growing collection of dear old Adelbert Stifter.I'm not
quite ready for the mittel-European melancholy just yet, that only
seems to happen once the woodburner is lit, but my eye did stray to the
French shelf. There I spyed a couple of unread Amelie Nothomb's and
suddenly I knew Amelie was just the reading filip I needed. Amelie's writing puts a real spring in my reading step, I know it will be off kilter, a wry and
subversive look at the foibles of society Amelie-style, oh yes please.
Somone who can pull the plug on all the pretensions of a civilized
world, you bet.
I discovered Amelie Nothomb in the early days of dovegreyreader scribbles and went quite overboard with a gluttonous self-indulgent feast of reading, quickly got a grip and realised these books were a precious resource for those moments in life when you need to read something so completely different from the usual, and managed to save a couple for later.
Later being now and so it was time for Sulphuric Acid.
The premise for Sulphuric Acid sounds truly terrible now I have to repeat it here, but this is Amelie Nothomb and Amelie has that wicked way of pushing the boundaries of bad taste in the interests of making her point, she sets out to shock and never fails. Except somehow she gets away with it. Her subject for dissection is reality TV shows and when I tell you that Amelie's is called Concentration and the subjects are just grabbed off the street and incarcerated for a year in what is effectively an actual concentration camp, with guards, beatings, starvation, death marches the lot then you will realise that Amelie doesn't mess about when she wants to make a point. Numbers are tattoed on wrists and the purgatory begins for the inmates and all watched daily on TV by the eager millions creating astronomical and ever-increasing viewing figures.
I read Amelie Nothomb in a state of unknowing and often confusion, emerging at the other end in one of two moods, either 'that was amazing' or 'what on earth was that all about?'. Neither mood ever leaves me disappointed and despite the seemingly thinner layers to Sulphuric Acid, what you see seems to be what you get, a blatant potshot at the voyeuristic side of society, I still turned the final page knowing and loving the fact I'd been Amelie-d.