Stupeur et Tremblements

Stupeur et Tremblements❰Reading❯ ➾ Stupeur et Tremblements Author Amélie Nothomb – According to ancient Japanese protocol foreigners deigning to approach the emperor did so only with fear and trembling Terror and self abasement conveyed respect Amélie our well intentioned and eager According to ancient Japanese protocol foreigners deigning to approach the emperor did so only with fear and trembling Terror and self abasement conveyed respect Amélie our well intentioned and eager young Western heroine goes to Japan to spend a year working at the Yumimoto Corporation Returning to the land where she was born is the fulfillment of a dream for Amélie; working there turns into comic nightmare Alternately disturbing and hilarious unbelievable and shatteringly convincing Fear and Trembling will keep readers clutching tight to the pages of this Stupeur et MOBI :¼ taut little novel caught up in the throes of fear trembling and ultimately delight. Fear and Trembling by Amelie NothombSomething bothers me a lot about this novelIt’s a short novel – 130 pages that can be read at a sitting Translated from the French it was a big hit in France and it won a couple of literary prizes when published in 1999 The main character is a young Belgian woman of college age we assume who lives in Japan and takes a job for a year in a Japanese corporation Just like the Belgian author who was born in Japan She has a woman supervisor very unusual in Japan and she becomes infatuated with her To make a short story even shorter she screws up everything so badly copying filing serving tea simple accounting tasks that she works her way all the way down to cleaning restrooms She screws that up too In Japanese culture she can’t be fired for a year nor can she uit without disgrace before her contract is up so there’s no immediate way out She and her supervisor seem to agree that she’s “retarded” Although we know she not really because she did an excellent job in writing a report with a lot of analysis that got her and several supervisors in trouble with the firm So she wants us to know that she’s really a brilliant person when challenged with a task eual to her intelligence and that may be but we also suspect she may simply be a person without the discipline to apply herself to tasks she doesn’t likeAlong the way we get an absolutely devastating picture of Japanese corporate culture that chews people up and spits them out Everything only flows one way top down Supervisors scream at underlings and they just “take it” You never explain or offer a word in your defense; you never speak up for someone else There is one horrendous scene where the young woman’s female supervisor is dressed down by her male supervisor in front of everyone in the office and the scene it is portrayed as a “verbal rape” and the female literally collapses under the assaultAs another example of the clash of cultures at one point the young woman worker asks “How else are we going to work things out if we don’t talk?” The response she receives is “If you DO talk there’s serious chance you’ll make things worse”Women in particular are under tremendous constraints in Japanese culture I’ll just touch on few things because there’s about eight pages elaborating on this You are ashamed if you are not married by age 25 “your expiration date” If you laugh you don’t look dignified; if you betray your feelings you look coarse if you enjoy eating you’re a pig When you go to the bathroom never let them hear you tinkle Like I say this goes on for several pages And she says the culture for a male is a little better but fundamentally the sameThe author gives us a summary of her thoughts about Japanese culture near the end of the story First she tells us about the title “Ancient Japanese culture stipulated that the Emperor be addressed with ‘fear and trembling’ “Existence in Japan is an extension of The Company My suffering was no worse than theirs; it was just degrading And yet I did not envy them They were a miserable as IThey were giving up their lives for nothing and they knew it” And “ A Japanese person genuinely apologizing happens about once a century” And this “Everyone knows that Japan has the highest suicide rate of any country in the world What surprised me was that suicides were not common” Well this one is FAKE news Japan’s suicide rate is about 30th among countries; for example Russia’s rate is about double that of Japan See Wikipedia suicide rates by country So what bothers me is that this book seems like a trashing of Japanese culture Can it really be that bad? Is our system the West’s that much better? The answer is obvious for the author but I’m not so sure Top photo from trtworldcomPhoto of the author from lettrescapitalescom Stupeur et tremblements Fear and Trembling Amélie NothombFear and Trembling is a satirical novel by Amélie Nothomb first published in 1999 and translated into English by Adriana Hunter in 2001 It was awarded the Grand Prix du roman de l'Académie française that yearعنوانها بهت و لرز؛ ترس و لرز؛ اثر آملی نوتومب؛ انتشاراتیها کتاب نادر، نشر قطره تاریخ نخستین خوانش روز سی و یکم ماه آگوست سال 2003میلادیعنوان یک بهت و لرز؛ اثر آملی نوتومب؛ مترجم موگه رازانی؛ مشخصات نشر تهران، کتاب نادر، 1382، در 107ص، شابک 9647359314؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان فرانسه فرانسوی سده 20معنوان دو ترس و لرز؛ اثر آملی نوتومب؛ مترجم شهلا حائری؛ مشخصات نشر تهران، قطره، 1383، در 114ص، شابک ندارد؛ از پشت جلد کتاب «بهت و لرز» برنده‌ ی جایزه‌ ی آکادمی فرانسه، در روایتی به‌ شیوه‌ ی مدرن، سرگذشت یک اروپایی در نظم و سلسله‌ مراتب اداری ژاپنی است، که با طنزی کافکایی، خنده و اضطراب را، در فضای داستان می‌پراکنـَد؛ ا شربیانی ‘’Society conspires against her from early infancy Her brain is steadily filled with plaster until it sets ‘’If you’re not married by the time you’re twenty five you’ll have good reason to be ashamed’’ ‘’if you laugh you won’t look dignified’’ ‘’if your face betrays your feelings you’ll look coarse’’ ‘’if you mention the existence of a single body hair you’re repulsive’’ ‘’if a boy kisses you on the cheek in public you’re a whore’’ ‘’if you enjoy eating you’re a pig’’ ‘’if you take pleasure in sleeping you’re no better than a cow’’ and so on’’ Amélie finds an ambitious job as an interpreter in a Japanese company in Tokyo Soon her dreams are thwarted It doesn’t matter whether she has spent most of her childhood in Japan Her coworkers only ‘’see’’ her European heritage constantly abusing her with the phrase ‘’You Westerners’’ And Amélie descends beaten by the jealousy and vicious rules of people locked in their own ridiculous microcosmNothomb’s novel is shuttering cruel viciously sarcastic And extremely brave She throws away political correctness and exposes the cruelty of a significant majority in a stupid and futile clash between two parts of the world But is it really that? Or is it really about the bottomless evil and cruelty to break the spirit of a young idealist an act committed by people who refuse to accept change? This isn’t about countries It is about the working environment mentality and we all have been there And do they achieve their goals? Or does Amélie actually become stronger by turning their game against the cruel ‘’occupants’’ of the company? I think this depends on each reader’s perception of the storyI loved her honesty and acuteness Having read extensively on Japan and being very familiar with Japanese Literature Nothomb describes in a stronger and intentionally exaggerated manner the exact same mentality that can be found in a plethora of novels by Japanese writers Do we honestly believe that prejudices and cruelty go only one way? Here we meet a cast of hideous men and oppressed women that find the chance to exact revenge on the ‘’new face’’ Women who are taught not to show their intelligence because it is only marriage that matters And if you can’t get married at least work hard Mori is the epitome of a deeply sad unfortunate and beaten person that projects the violence she has received on what she views as an easy target This is a world where you need a formal statement to prepare photocopies where you are forbidden to show your excellence in a foreign language where you have no right to protest as your personality is being raped again and again This is a Nazi environment in the 90sYeah well about the Nazi thingI will explore Nothomb’s work with vivid enthusiasm Speaking strictly for me her sarcasm helped me through a novel full of humiliation and cruelty a psychological rape a crime against any trace of a basic human relationship Let me tell you I have faced a coworker like Mori except I am no Amélie so she got what she deserved But there are many Amélies in every country of the world and this doesn’t seem to change ‘’Ancient Japanese protocol stipulated that the Emperor be addressed with ‘’fear and trembling’’ I’ve always loved the expression which so perfectly describes the way actions in Samurai films speak to their leader their voices tremulous with almost superhuman reverence So I put on the mask of terror and started to tremble’’ My reviews can also be found on 35 stars I must say I was really surprised by this book I work for a Japanese company here in Vancouver and I have noticed that my Japanese co workers have to adhere to different standards and rules from the rest of us we don’t uestion it what can you do? It’s been interesting working there because half of my co workers are Japanese the other half aren’t We’ve had to adapt to each other’s cultures and I think we do so uite well It does feel like we’re split into two camps and I have often been approached by a Japanese co worker to say something to the boss something I can get away with saying as I’m not JapaneseSo because of my experiences working with the Japanese and talking to them about corporate culture in Japan I shouldn’t have been too shocked by the content of this book but I was Yumimoto Corporation sounds like hell to me and I felt sorry for the most part for Amelie the Belgian girl who works there and uickly gets on the bad side of her female co worker who is villainous but feels the need to be as she is a woman working in a male dominated worldI’m still not completely convinced by Amelie though She was born in Japan lived there until she was 5 years old yet when she moves back to Japan she seems to have accepted the Japanese corporate life way too easily As a westerner Amelie is used to taking the initiative That doesn’t fly in Japan apparently She becomes a total pushover It doesn’t sound plausible that a western woman would do that without a fightThis book was meant to be satirical Not that I found too much of it funny it was sad than anything And I was surprised by the comments Nothomb made about Japanese society how there’s only two ways out for women; marriage or suicide I found that a bit harsh It was weird because on one hand she loves Japanese culture on the other hand she is so scathing of itI realize I’ve gone off topic and I’m not talking so much about the book now Well I did like the book It was a uick read and Nothomb does have a graceful writing style However a few things didn’t sit right with me My Japanese friend Yukie said I had to read this if I wanted to understand how a Japanese job worked And indeed I do feel I have a great deal insight into itRule number 1 NEVER take initiative for anything you're not supposed to take initiative for The heroine finds this out the hard way She's just started working for this Japanese company She speaks fluent Japanese French and English so of course like any Westerner she's looking for an opportunity to impress her new bosses A colleague goes off on vacation there's a piece of work that's been left hanging which reuires knowledge of French and she sees her chanceOh dear Not only does she get no praise; she and the misguided person who helped her are suddenly in huge trouble But she still doesn't understand how things work and makes one mistake after another being moved further down the ladder each time In the end her job consists of changing the toilet paper in the men's roomThe book is supposed to be based on the author's experiences when working in Japan and is uite funny I started reading it on a transatlantic flight and had finished before I arrived Strongly recommended if you're interested in Japan and the Japanese Japan sure brings out the bonkers in everybody doesn’t it Bonkers a demotic English term meaning crazy but with the element of horror removed and an extra suirt of I will never understand this in a million years – get me out of this roomI tried you may know this already to get on board with The Wind Up Bird Chronicle That was a little too eyerollingly cute weird for me I had a go with the other Murakami guy Ryu not Haruki and he was really strangeThen there was Natsuo Kirino The novel was called Grotesue and it really wasAnd I must mention a little movie called Love Exposure by Sion Sono Synopsis A bizarre love triangle forms between a young Catholic upskirt photographer a misandric girl and a manipulative cultist Truly madly deeply bonkers One of my all time favourites You gotta see Love Exposure But not with your parentsSo now this tiny novel memoir which is Japan from a Western point of view 22 year old Belgian girl gets job with huge Tokyo corporation – and a year of humiliation begins It’s a little hymn of hatred towards Japan and frankly borderline racist as Amelie Nothomb makes generalization upon generalization about all Japanese people and they’re all profoundly derogatory Japanese people should sue this book right now It’s so insulting Now I think Amelie is gonna say well can’t you tell I really deep down LOVE Japan and its peopleBut the experience of reading this is like watching someone wrestling rather too strenuously with their pet dog – who’s a naughty ittle doggy then? Are You a naughty ittle doggy? Are YOU the NAUGHTIEST NASTIEST MOST ANNOYING ITTLE DOGGY? Yes you are YES YOU ARE You get the strong impression there’s some genuine aggression in there I’ll just dish up a uote for you in case you may think I may be misrepresenting Amelie Here she is contemplating Japanese company men Everyone knows that Japan has the highest suicide rate of any country in the world What surprised me was that suicides were not commonWhat awaited these poor number crunchers outside The Company? The obligatory beer with colleagues undergoing the same kind of gradual lobotomy hours spent stuffed into an overcrowded subway a dozing wife exhausted children sleep that sucked them down into it like the vortex of a flushing toilet the occasional day off they never took full advantage of Nothing that deserved to be called a lifeOh and howsabout this A Japanese person genuinely apologizing happens about once every centuryOuchSo anyway it’s a bitter too near the knuckle to be really funny memoir why do they bother to call these things novels? and I’m most curious to find out What Amelie Did Next Fear and Trembling embraces the strange with one wicked arsenal of irrational but noble thoughts actions by the superb heroine Her authentic recklessness captivates no enamours the reader I had very strong feelings for this incredible novel because I lived EXACTLY the type of professional downward spiral that all but defeats you Like a posher ?? precursor to The Devil Wears Prada the entire plot unravels within the confines of the claustrophobic and limiting Workplace This is an ugly child that you want to keep with you forever it's really THAT wonderful I had mixed expectations when approaching Belgium's enfant terrible Amélie Nothomb having heard plenty of praise and criticism in eual measure So it was with fear and trembling I approached Nothomb's Prix du roman de l'Académie française winning novel Fear and Trembling aware of the author's reputation as a uirky hip and contemporary writer Little did I know that the novel itself highly autobiographical charting the struggles of a Belgian worker Amélie within the various rigidities of Japanese corporate culture would be caustic in its entiretyNothomb embarrasses herself with her critiue of a culture which she evidently plucks from stereotypes never once examining the possible grains of truth within these superficial constructions of Japanese identity but inflating them for crass comedic effect Supposedly a book highlighting the difficult intricacies of Japanese corporate culture Fear and Trembling instead criticises the difficulty for somebody foreign in this case Amélie to function within a world of explicit hierarchy and tradition Alas Nothomb's novel is an attack on difference; the fish out of water story is so thinly disguised as to milk the largest amount of sympathy for the 'Westerner' who must survive but never become at one with a culture that is described as evil torturous and unthinking Not only is the Yumimoto corporation hellish but the people within it Nothomb paints as the antithesis of the poor and victimised main character Amélie's character never escapes the one dimensional boundary of her girlish nature both silly and supercilious; the divide between West and East which many GR reviews pick up on only paint Amélie as good whilst the Japanese workers as unfair tyrants Under constant attack Amélie defends her privileged position with lines such as ' Believe it or not honor does exist in the West too' Alas the novel is riddled with such hyperbole and stilted dialogue The back and forth arguments which make up the majority of the novel are crude in their rough satire revealing Nothomb as nothing than a juvenile and somewhat self obsessed writer This grating chatty style written without much thought is both absurd and borders on outright discomfort at certain points when Nothomb who obviously has little appreciation for political correctness touches upon some troubling descriptions there is the running joke that Amélie is suffering from 'developmental disorders'; whilst the berating of co worker Fubiki by her boss Mister Omochi is described as a rape; and later Fubiki angry walks towards Amélie ' with Hiroshima in her right eye and Nagasaki in her left' There comes a point where Nothomb's writing becomes inflammatory minus rationality; the humour in the novel perhaps its only redeeming point comes from lazy depictions of the Japanese workers In essence Fear and Trembling is a slapstick novel uirky yes but just as tawdry guns blazing and without purpose For such a short novel Nothomb surprisingly manages to include plenty of stereotypes Mister Omochi is referenced as the ' Obese one' who is always ' dementedly screaming' whilst Mr Saito is another demonic boss of Amélie's forcing her to print again and again a heavy golf manual Some critics have called the novel erotic but fail to mention that the only power of sexuality given is towards Amélie Only she as the foreigner is able to form friendships connections and relationship; the other only female in the novel Fubiki is robbed of her sexuality individuality and is exoticised Fubiko is the ideal fantasy of a Japanese woman As Amélie or can we as readers take this to be Nothomb's voice? describes 'Not all Japenese women are beautiful But when one of them sets out to be beautiful anyone else had better stand back All forms of beauty are poignant Japanese beauty particularly so That lily white complexion those mellow eyes the inimitable shape of the noseThus Fubiko is the very poster girl for Orientalism as an exotic but always dangerous figure as someone who functions robotically in the novel Her only hope at sexuality is either through suicide or marriage Amélie's assertion that these are the only two avenues for Japanese women are nothing than racist and belittling and stand alongside her proclamation that she has a 'profound admiration for any Japanese woman who has not committed suicide' whilst later 'Everyone knows that Japan has the highest suicide rate of any country What surprised me was that suicides were not common' This long segment where Amélie talks about the 'Fate of the Japanese Woman' is supposed to be a critiue of the various dogmas that entrap the gender roles within Japanese society however because the description is nothing than an incoherent rant written in second person towards an imaginary audience Nothomb dissociates away from the connection any deeper meaning and political value Her outburst means nothing because it has nothing to do with the characters Such an obliue mention to feminism is lazy feminism at best and yet hypocritically in denouncing the institution which would force Fubuki to marry Amélie then mocks Fubuki's attempts at flirting To put the icing on the cake ironically the only man in the novel which could save Fubuki from her drone existence is a white man Such painful contradictions litter the novel turning it into a mess of cultural clashes and caricatures; Nothomb's style though easy to read and stylistically very new age is eually disorientating at points where her descriptions become random and are composed of awkward imagery and irksome stylistic phrases such as ' mashed potato syndrome paralyzing my hand' However such repulsion may be the point Nothomb wants to be shocking And the novel is shocking but for all the wrong reasons and it is for all the wrong reasons that Fear and Trembling continues to keep receiving ludicrously high ratings and positive reviews My Japanese friend 30 ish former competitive cross country skier now a sushi man working in Poland moved all the way from the other side of the world to Warsaw just to make sushi for local yuppies Can you imagine? In order to escape Tokio's corporate nightmare he swapped continents traded cultures left his family behind and moved to this obscure little country called Poland I mean I like it here but it's not the most foreigner friendly place Especially not if you are a slender Japanese dude with long silky hair and a cute pudgely face Just to give you an example this friend of mine gets giggled at by teenage girls just because of his androgynous fashion choices and petite builds I'm guessing he confuses the shit out of them but come on grow the hell up girls Then he gets mean stares from clerks because his Polish doesn't live up to their snooty standards Oh and he gets hit on while in clubs by hoards of horny women who want to satisfy the itch for something exotic Just to be even he gets hit on in clubs by horny men too again I think it's all about the curiosity and the exotics All that is minor annoyances the most worrisome is that my friend gets looked down by his coworkers Even though he's the most involved of all the business partners had invested the most and is the only one among the bunch with the intricate knowledge of sushi making he is treated as someone less worthy Nothing better than racist colleagues is there? People sometimes suckAnd if you put all that crap he's dealing with on top of the regular ex pat maladies homesickness scarcity of home food cultural misunderstandings etc it can really get nasty So it made me wonder for him to put up with this crap every single day how bad the typical Japanese workplace can be? How awful Tokyo's corporate overlords? To my understanding my friend was just a regular guy living normal life no Yakuza no kink Amélie Nothomb gives some answers to that she did the opposite of my Japanese friend has done She left her native Belgium to live and work in one of Tokyo's major corporations From her book you get a taste of what work in such an environment is like what's expected from a newbie and why some might find daunting The book's funny I got uite a few laughs lyrical at times much appreciated melancholic descriptions from time to time and well crafted description at that and a little fakeNothomb lies her ass of That's her writing style Most of it is exaggeration and fact twisting I'm sure it's done for comical relief and to prove a point but still to me that to a degree undermines the credibility of her story In short if you can live with shameless exaggeration you'll enjoy the book Otherwise prepare yourself for a whole lot of teeth grinding He was serious about it medals international competitions crazy training sessions Some of it is due to confusion with his sex he blames his haircut some of it isn't We're finally getting into the proper review part of this review Hahahaha aren't Japanese people strange and weird and their culture is so crazyI didn't enjoy this book I take issue with anyone portraying Japan as some out there foreign country Having spent a short period of my life living in Japan a fraction longer than Nothomb did in the book and I'm the first to acknowledge that it's very different but books like this just add to the misconception that it's some sort of society gone mad It seems to be one of the last countries where it is acceptable to treat as crazy foreign people Yes the culture is very different to Western culture but does that make it fair to arrogantly look at it as wrong? And that's what I didn't like about Fear and Loathing Nothomb seemed to be taking the high moral ground as if she kept telling herself I might be going down fighting but I'm not the crazy oneYes it's a mono culture 99% of the population are Japanese It doesn't look favourably an individualism I remember being told they have a saying which roughly means 'the nail that sticks out gets hammered down' It's a country that puts the groupcompanyothers before themselves but by following that logic others do the same for you and things work There is also great shame in not doing what society expects of you But is that really so crazy? It's a country with low unemployment the lowest teen pregnancy in the industrial world and low crime Their poverty rate is lower than the US and UK too Yeah crazy aren't they???I found many things about Japan a little strange but I acknowledge that's because their whole society has a different philosophy to the one I was born into But it works and for that reason I will always jump to their defence with things like this I miss many aspects of the country and find the Japanese to be lovely people though I acknowledge I will always be a foreigner first to them but the way Nothomb portrayed her time with the Yumimoto company was that of an arrogant young woman who refused to accept that to get by in Japanese culture you need to follow the unwritten social rules You might not agree with them but if you don't then the problem is with you not them Their society is very different but it worksOh and her comparisons in the book to rape are offensive as are some of her comments about Germany and World War II though one about Belgium and Germany was amusing I'll stop writing now or I won't stop It gets 2 stars because it was short A friend lent it to me thinking I'd like it I'll now be reviewing the friendship

Stupeur et Tremblements Kindle ó Stupeur et  MOBI
  • Paperback
  • 144 pages
  • Stupeur et Tremblements
  • Amélie Nothomb
  • English
  • 12 January 2016
  • 9780312347321