Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Book of Proper Names” as Want to Read:
The Book of Proper Names
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Book of Proper Names

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  3,044 ratings  ·  233 reviews
"To have an extraordinary life, Lucette believes, one must have an extraordinary name. Horrified by the pedestrian names her husband chooses for their unborn child (Tanguy if it's a boy, Joelle if it's a girl), Lucette does the only honorable thing to save her baby from such an unexceptional destiny - she kills her spouse. While in prison, Lucette gives birth to a daughter ...more
Hardcover, 122 pages
Published August 1st 2004 by St. Martin's Press (first published January 1st 2000)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Book of Proper Names, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Book of Proper Names

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.57  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,044 ratings  ·  233 reviews

Sort order
Jul 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am left without words. And not in a “I just read the best book in my entire life, this was mindblowing”-kind of way, no, there is just no way I will be able to put Amélie’s weird ass narrative into words. Logically, I shouldn’t have even liked this book. It’s way too bizarre and fucked up for my usual taste but somehow this really worked and I adore the shit out of this novel.

This is by no means an all-encompassing recommendation as I have the feeling that a lot of readers will not enjoy Améli
Guillermo Jiménez
Con cada libro más que leo de Nothomb me sucede que pierde algo. En «Cosmética del asesino» percibí ese epílogo de un párrafo final como lo más innecesario que he visto en mucho tiempo. En esta novela sucede algo similar. Las novelas se desploman al final. Caen en picado y echan a perder el poco o mucho/ buen o mal trabajo de la novela.

¿Por que leer a Nothomb? Siendo honesto: porque puedo leerla en una tarde, o en un viaje en autobús. La leo, porque a pesar de todo lo que no dice, dice mucho con
May 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amélie Nothomb ist einfach eine Heldin der skurrilen Geschichten und besondereren Persönlichkeiten, all das spürt man hier beim Lesen wieder deutlich. Es ist eine Geschichte, wie ich sie schätze: kurzweilig (aber nicht gedankenlos), unterhaltsam (aber nicht niveaulos) und spannend. Auf wenigen Seiten erzählt sie hier beinah von einem ganzen Leben. Einem Leben, von dem ich nicht weiß, ob ich glauben kann, dass es so tatsächlich passiert sein soll. Aber das spielt auch gar keine Rolle, denn ich wa ...more
Diana Hincu
Cartea 6. Belgia.
Foarte interesanta cartulie. Dar si usor bizara.
Aparent, naratiunea trece cu repezeala unei comete si personajele scapa cu descrieri laconice. Durerile is trecute prea repejor, cam ca apelul in registrele scolare. Iar finalul ricoseaza, culmea, din cauza insasi a autorei.
Daca insa iti intorci caleidoscopul si vezi istoria ca ca o scriere a "genului gotic", apare o cu totul alta culoare. Tonul horror pare deja destul de justificat si contrastul cu personajul romantic, frumos. Si
Mar 08, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
Es una pena que un personaje que promete tanto se quede en tan poco. La infancia de Plectrude es espectacular pero según va crecimiento se va desinflando. Aún así pensaba darle 2 estrellas, la historia cambia mucho, pierde ritmo y baja en interés, pero aún así no me disgustaba. Ha sido el final el que lo ha echado todo a perder, parece como si a Amélie ya no le interesara nada su historia/no le quedan ideas/quiere experimentar con el final/lo que sea, NO SÉ pero lo manda a tomar por saco. Está c ...more
Aug 07, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I often find Nothomb a little bit too keen to shock. Her stories often contain such implausible elements -- presented as if they were mere nothings -- as to render the whole thing just... slightly ridiculous. In addition, her books are usually too short. Once you've managed to get somewhat into the story, it's over. And here that's a shame, because the ballet school part was really good. That could have been developed into a much more powerful novel, but then Nothomb has to go and ruin it with e ...more
Mar 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Amélie Nothomb "Tikrinių vardų žodynas".

Prieš keleta mėnesių Nothomb "Gyvsidabris" mane pakerėjo savo nuostabiai keista istorija. Kai Kauno senamiesčio bibliotekoje išvydau dar dvi tos pačios autorės, to paties leidimo ir keistajai Alma littera kolekcijai priklausančias knygas - negalėjau išeiti nepasiėmus. Šiandien pristatau Amélie Nothomb "Tikrinių vardų žodynas". Dar viena nuostabi, keista ir jaudinanti istorija. Prasideda ji itin dramatišku vaiko atėjimu į šį pasaulį. Nepaprasto vaik
Пропуснах странния разказ за живота на Плектруда - момичето с очи на танцьорка, когато се появи на българския пазар преди повече от пет години. Напоследък съм се заела да наваксвам заглавия, които спечелиха популярност, но до които аз поради някаква причина все не стигах.
Хм, чете се за час и не знам дали това е добре или не, но е характерно за Амели Нотомб. Крайно нетрадиционните сюжетни линии, които заплита, винаги притежават лекота, която буквално ме кара да препускам по страниците. Без да изм
Jun 13, 2014 rated it liked it
Unusual and charming is definitely this author's trademark.

Plectrude, is the daughter of Lucette, born from tragedy she is raised by her mother's sister and is permitted to live a most unusual life. Nothing is too good for her and there is nothing that pleases her that her adoptive parent won't offer her.

She is a quite, dreamlike child. She enters a dance school after she is unable to adapt to the normal children's school. Her dreams and magic are slowly being erased in the dance school where th
Jun 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-of-2017
Name ist Schicksal. Davon ist Lucette überzeugt, als sie ein Kind erwartet. Diesem Kind soll ein aufregendes Leben vergönnt sein, deshalb entscheidet Lucette sich für die totale Extravaganz, für einen Namen, den sie in einem Lexikon des 19 Jahrhunderts gefunden hat: sie nennt ihr Kind Plectrude.

Dieses Buch hat mich überrascht, zum Lachen gebracht, unterhalten, in Spannung versetzt, verzaubert, berührt, gefesselt, erstaunt und meinen Wortschatz erweitert und das auf 147 Seiten. 
Feb 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Ovo je prvi roman od ove autorice koji sam pročitala i naravno, nisam ostala ravnodušna.
Sama priča počinje ljubavlju između devetnaestogodišnjakinje, trudne Luccete i devetnaestogodišnjaka Fabiena, koji su u braku. Oboma se s vremenom brak čini kao nešto konfuzno i nimalo romantično. Ona očekivanja koje su oboje imali prije, dok su se igrali mame i tate ,rasplinula su se kao mjehuri od sapunice.
Jednog dana Lucette koja je bila u 8. mjesecu trudnoće, a kojoj je beba u trbuhu stalno štucala, uzme
Carolina Varela
Ayer le comentaba a una amiga que yo soy una fangirl de Nothomb. Sin embargo, eso no debería nublar mi vista de lo que realmente me pasó con este libro.
Por lo general un autor no necesariamente deslumbra con todas sus creaciones y muchas veces nos topamos con una historia de nuestro autor favorito que no nos convence del todo.
Este es el caso.

(view spoiler)
MJ Nicholls
Oct 18, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nothomb is a tough cookie to fathom. Her books are simple and short, predictable to the point of cliché, and yet eminently readable. She doesn't mess around. She tells the story as fast as possible and leaves the reader in a glow. That is clever.

This novella is a riff on the child-prodigy-runs-into-obstacles theme, with an undercurrent of murder and madness. Nothomb does a good job playing with these clichés, moulding them into something original with wit and panache.

(NB: I think I've used the p
Nov 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lecturas-2016
El destino de la niña Plectrude, nacida en prisión de una madre de diecinueve años que asesinó a su marido semanas antes de dar a luz, será el de una lucha contra la compulsión a repetir el destino maldito de su madre. Criada con la familia de una tía, destaca enseguida por su belleza salvaje, por un don casi sobrenatural de seducción que hace caer a sus pies a cuanto ser se cruza a su paso. Con la excepción del chico que ella ama.

Plectrude es desde el principio el eje de la novela. Por sus acto
Lukasz Pruski
Apr 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
"But being ten years old is the best thing that can happen to a human being."

Regrettably The Book of Proper Names (2002), my seventh short novel by Amelie Nothomb, does not come close to the greatness of her masterpiece Loving Sabotage or two other outstanding novels The Character of Rain and Hygiene and the Assassin. So while I really wanted to love this book by one of my favorite authors it has left me feeling less than enthusiastic.

The protagonist of the story is a girl named Plectrude, s
Jul 17, 2011 rated it liked it
I had very high expectations for this book. Famed author, intriguing title. I was anticipating something as exceptional as, for example, a novel written in the non-linear format of a dictionary. Now that would've been really innovative.

But the real book was a disappointment and not because of its traditional format or the plot itself. Plectrude was born in prison since her mother killed her father: she didn't want for her child the mediocre name he had chosen. She wanted an exceptional name ins
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 23, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: in-french
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
AmberBug **
Gothic Nirvana! Each novella I read by Nothomb makes my skin go all bumpy. She oozes such beautiful, dark, twisted and elegant writing.

This story follows the tragic story of Plectrude, an orphan taken in by her Aunt. The background of this girl is tragic and what happens throughout the story is deeply tragic. TRAGEDY! Oh, how I love thee. For some reason I'm pulled in when a story contains anything twisted, dark and tragic. I believe it must be due to the fact that this makes something unusual,
The simple storybook narrative style of this piece is somewhat misleading. On the surface this is a post-modern interpretation of Cinderella & other 'princess' tales, but there's also more. There are snippets of feminist critique (on motherhood, on ideals of beauty, etc), there are pointed comments on the process of learning and the limitations of the educational system, as well as lighthearted yet profound insights into anorexia. On top of it all, there is Amelie Nothomb toying with her rea ...more
Feb 12, 2009 rated it did not like it
If I could give this one lower than a one-star rating I would. What a pointless book. The only good thing I can say for it was that it wasn't long. Oh, and I got it at the library, so I didn't pay for it. This is the story of a teenage girl who gets pregnant and then decides the baby's father will not be a good father, so she kills him, goes to jail, has the baby in jail, gives her a horrible name (Plechtrude) and then kills herself. The baby is raised by her aunt, becomes an anorexic ballerina, ...more
Nadezda Kolokolova
Бесподобное сочетание сюжета и идеи. Абсурдная история жизни девочки со странным именем Плектруда. Умственная отсталость или искрометное чувство юмора. Любовь до гроба или ненависть. Убийство или воскрешение из жизни. Всё это вы найдете на страницах романа "Словарь имен собственных".
Читая Нотомб, убеждаешься в её даре жонглировать словами и понятиями, умело употреблять их в любой ситуации.
Полная оценка романа 5/5. Как всегда, браво и снимаю шляпу!
Feb 28, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Il y a ça et là quelques pages à sauver. Le reste est le synopsis au style à la fois creux et lourd d'une histoire qui s'attarde systématiquement sur les moments les moins intéressants. Au final, on s'en fout. Et je devrais retirer une étoile pour les dialogues sans vie, surtout ceux des 'enfants'.
Mayk Şişman
Jan 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: belgian
Sonu korkunç kötü bitse de yine de 5 üzerinden 3 buçuktan 4.
Pas mon préféré ...
Aug 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Groteskno, morbidno, humoristično (djelomično) i intrigantno
Христина Арсова Kikiland
Intresting mix .... so easy to read but under ...deep ocean.... strange waves I see there.....
Mar 02, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: unhaul
Ne me voodusevi, no si ima svoi momenti.
Dec 03, 2009 rated it liked it
Из архивите - рецензия за в. "Гласове".

Нотомб на лов за себе си
"Речник на собствените имена", Амели Нотомб, прев. Светла Лекарска, "Колибри", 2006 г.

Защото това не е търсене, а лов – със страст, коварство и оръжие. По двойки – тя (сама) и то (скрито). Всичко в книгите на тази жена е относно тази жена и за нейно лично удовлетворение. Но тя има толкова личност, че стига и за милион-два читатели. Родена през 1965-а в семейството на белгийски дипломат в Кобе, издънка на стар род политици и писатели
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • Un homme à distance
  • Pig Tales: A Novel of Lust and Transformation
  • L'Éducation d'une fée
  • In Search of a Distant Voice
  • Seasick Whale
  • L'uomo medievale
  • The Human Voice: A Play = La Voix Humaine
  • Les Noces barbares
  • Le dictateur et le hamac
  • It's Happy Bunny: Life. Get One.
  • Qumran
  • Karnas arv
  • Witaj, Karolciu!
  • Wonderful Clouds
  • Open Me
  • Beerholms Vorstellung
  • Retreat from Love
  • Vienna
Amélie Nothomb, born Fabienne Claire Nothomb, was born in Etterbeek, Belgium on 9 July 1966, to Belgian diplomats. Although Nothomb claims to have been born in Japan, she actually began living in Japan at the age of two until she was five years old. Subsequently, she lived in China, New York, Bangladesh, Burma, the United Kingdom (Coventry) and Laos.
She is from a distinguished Belgian political fa
“Sin duda cada ser tiene, en el universo de lo escrito, una obra que le convertirá en lector, suponiendo que el destino favorezca su encuentro.
Lo que Platón dice de la mitad amorosa, ese otro ser que circula por alguna parte y que conviene encontrar a riesgo de permanecer incompleto hasta el día de tu muerte, es todavía más auténtico en el caso de los libros.”
“Para bailar, hay que merecerlo. Bailar sobre un escenario y delante de público constituye la mayor de las felicidades. A decir verdad, incluso sin público, incluso sin escenario, bailar es el colmo de la embriaguez. Una alegría tan profunda justifica los sacrificios más crueles. La educación que os damos aquí tiende a presentar la danza como lo que es: no un medio sino una recompensa.” 8 likes
More quotes…