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3.59  ·  Rating details ·  5,491 ratings  ·  425 reviews
In de veertiende roman van Nothomb is een concentratiekamp de setting van een realityprogramma. De slachtoffers worden door de programmamakers van de straat geplukt, de kapo's zorgvuldig geselecteerd op brutaliteit en meedogenloosheid.
De twee hoofdpersonages in het programma zijn elkaars tegenpolen: Zdena, een 'lelijk' meisje uit een lager milieu, heeft geen vrienden
Hardcover, 166 pages
Published 2006 by Manteau (first published August 24th 2005)
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Glenn Russell

How far can a society sink into a collective pit of stupidity, sadism, brutality and barbarism? Tune into Belgian novelist Amélie Nothomb's Sulphuric Acid and see for yourself.

In the parks and on the street of Paris, hundreds of women, men and children are grabbed by the organizers and taken to a station to be piled into a cattle-truck. A stunningly attractive young paleontologist by the name of Pannonique, who just so happened to be out for a walk in the Jardin des Plantes, is among their number. Pannonique u
Viv JM
The time came when the suffering of others was not enough for them; they needed the spectacle of it, too.

Sulphuric Acid is a biting satire on our obsession with celebrity culture and reality TV. It tells the story of a new reality TV show called Concentration which is a televised concentration camp, with victims plucked randomly from the street, and then filmed in the camp until their deaths. It becomes a TV sensation. Nothomb really captures the nation's hypocrisy in decrying the evil of the programme, whi
Oct 12, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1-star, read-in-2018
My first 1 star book of the year. It's more 1.5 but I round down.

Here's the thing, this has a really good synopsis. The world has gotten so bored of everything, that they start using the old Concentration camps in the same way they were used during the Holocaust, but it's broadcast on live television as a reality show. Anyone can be chosen, people are randomly arrested on the street, and you leave when you are dead. Guards are also randomly chosen off the street, and are paid.
Nor el yasmine
This is not one of my favorites, but as always, reading her is a pleasure in itself, for her choice and use of language.
And here it is gentleman! The first version of The Hunger Games. And it was published before the series so I wonder if miss Suzanne Collins really didn't read this book. It could be a coincidence.

Anyway, this was a mixture between 1984, The Hunger Games and every book who's ever gotten written about concentration camps (nazi or otherwise).

It was delightful, it was insane and it didn't feel too short or too long. I especially liked the ending, the moral that everyone can c
Aug 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
She would be God in every respect. It was no longer a matter of creating the universe: too late, damage done. Basically, once creation was accomplished, what was the task of God? Probably that of a writer when his book is published: publicly to love his text, to receive compliments, jeers and indifference on its behalf. To confront certain readers who denounce the work’s shortcomings when, even if they are right, it would be impossible to change it. To love it to the bitter end. That love was th ...more
Sep 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Sulphuric Acid [2005/2007] – ★★★★

This book is by a Belgian author Amélie Nothomb, who was born in Japan, but now resides in Paris. Translated from the French by Shaun Whiteside, Sulphuric Acid is a short novella which quite shockingly and darkly satirises our obsession with TV, in particular with reality television, and our idolisation of celebrities. Probably taking some inspiration from Koushun Takami’s Battle Royale (1999), Sulphuric Acid is a dystopia-set story in which millions
MJ Nicholls
Since the invention of reality television, novels have been shooting from every pipe of the cultural sewage works, pouring scorn on greedy TV execs and lazy ignorant viewers. This one-sitting read briskly states the obvious in the form of a gentle fable – the narration is childlike in simplicity, and it dumps its disgust and irritation in the most eloquent way imaginable.

The novel takes place inside a reality TV concentration camp where contestants are voted off to be slaughtered by
AmberBug com*
Jun 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've tried combining the French and English versions but it isn't showing up SO I'm posting my review on both.

Dear Reader,

This is one of my favorite Authors of all time. Amélie has this magical way with words, and if you've been following my reviews, you'll know I'll gush about her until the day I die. Did I love this book? No, but I did like it. This might be the first Nothomb book that didn't take my breath away, and that's okay! I don't expect her to blow me away EVERY time. I wa
Jun 16, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gift, 2009
This is quite a disturbing book. It reminded me of Blindness by Saramago, and likewise has left me with the feeling that I have been punched on the stomach. I read one previous book by Nothomb – Fear and Trembling – but it did not prepare me for Sulphuric Acid.

In both books Nothomb makes an acute criticism of society, but while in Fear and Trembling – an criticism of corporate organizations, the Japanese corporations more specifically – she uses humour and satire, in Sulphuric Acid the theme does not
Nov 02, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read2010
[There was a review here. It's gone now.]
To stand by while innocent people are murdered becomes easier if you feel part of a crowd. The anonymity of the voyeur, such as offered by the reality television shows of the first decade of this century, adds another layer of protection.

From these two observations Amélie Nothomb constructs a short and simple dystopian novel. The Christ-figure of Pannonique is her vehicle to gradually build up dramatic tension and to pass her reflections on morality and responsibility.

Anna Baillie-Karas
Excellent. A disturbing story of citizens forced into a concentration camp for reality tv. Both the camp & the public seeing it as entertainment are horrifying. But Nothomb has a wonderful dry wit & draws strong, memorable characters. Moving tension between guard Zdena & Pannonique, the viewers’ favourite prisoner. Explores loss of identity, how low we will go for ‘entertainment’, apathy & the mob mentality. A great novella.

This is third Amelie Nothomb book (after Petronille and
Feb 28, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: _avant-france
A good surprise! There were some subjects in it I really liked but still I had some issues with it. Specially because I don’t agree with the definition of “good” and “evil” and I had some problems with the pride of the main character. Trough out the end the books get better and then it goes down again. But In liked it still.
Aug 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: translated
I need to think about this.
And then reread it.
And then think some more.
The concept of the story was interesting but the writing style just didn’t do it for me
This was pretty interesting, and quite realistic, but I did feel like the ending was rushed.
Amélie Gourdon
Jun 09, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Didn't enjoy the style, it's easy to read but somehow too easy. I can't define why, maybe it's too simplistic sometimes. And though I love the pitch and its provocativity, I think the denouement is too optimistic: the day we will reach a level of ignominy, I am not sure it will be possible to stop the horrors we will have let start.
But another point of view could be to see this book as an homage to those who resisted to the Nazi ignominy and who proved it's always possible to stop. With a
Adriana Sveen
It's a decent concept for a book, but leaves some questions and gaps that were a bit too stark to be ignored. The underlying idea that the world would watch with gape mouthed fascination and never lift a finger to help fellow human beings kidnapped to star in a concentration camp themed reality show is a touch unrealistic to me. But perhaps I am not so jaded.

A good read, but it would have been better as a longer book with more meat to its plot and depth to the characters.
Feb 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good dystopian, perfect prose, fast paced, short read.

Only complain : Pannonique (main character) is a bit too perfect for me. It's said about her that she is (quote in french) "ce que l'humanité avait engendré de plus beau, de plus pur, de plus élevé et de plus délectable". That's too much. She is beautiful, she is strong, she is beautiful, she is smart, she is beautiful, she has a beautiful voice, she is beauti- wait, did i write it already?

I recommend it.
Maureen Grigsby
Apr 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Amelie Nothomb never disappoints! And her translator does a superb job. This short novel describes a reality tv show called Concentration, where the participants are rounded up, put in a camp, starved, beaten, and worked to death. The show is incredibly successful with viewers.

A horrifying premise.
Dana Clinton
Oct 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had meant while I was recently in France to pick up a title or two by Amélie Nothomb about whom I've read quite a bit, but I didn't really have time to roam the bookstores on this last visit. So, since I was entitled (!!) to choose a book for the South Berwick Public Library to add to its collection because I completed the adult reading challenge this summer, I picked Sulphuric Acid by A.N. Here is another time I wish I could choose 9/10 stars instead of 4/5, as that would feel closer to an ac ...more
Amelie Nothomb is an author who is new to me, despite her prolific writing over the last 20 years. I understand now that I've finished it, that Sulphuric Acid was controversial when it was first released, with the author being asked to publicly explain herself. I find that hilarious, if for no other reason than what I got out of it could not have been more clear.

This short novel is based around a new, hit television show called "Concentration," wherein one set of people is herded tog
Apr 28, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-to-read
Amélie Nothomb’s ‘Sulphuric Acid’ had such a promising premise which as soon as I heard I knew I had to get my hands on this short story. As morbid as it may seem, reading about a modern day reality death camp is right up my street.

The 2 stars indicate one for the strong premise and two for the occasions where I found Nothomb’s writing rather beautiful.

Upon starting the book my immediate thoughts were along the lines of “this isn’t what I was expecting” but I carried on nonetheless.
Amy Alice
Sep 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Fiction, translated from French (Belgian author).
I love Amelie Nothomb. I picked up a load of her stories in France, in English and in French as they are so lovely, and also short which is excellent when you're trying to read in another language.
This book is a dystopian tale where reality TV has moved to the darkest level - watching an actual death camp.
It has one of the most amazing first pages I have ever read for a book, starting off with: "The time came when the suffering of others was no
"Any human being who experiences a lasting or a passing hell can, in order to confront it, resort to the most gratifying mental technique in existence: he can tell himself a story. The exploited worker invents himself as a prisoner-of-war, the prisoner-of-war imagines himself a Grail hunter, and so on. Every form of wretchedness has its own emblem and its own heroism. The poor wretch who can inflate his chest with a breath of greatness holds his head up high and ceases to complain."
Apr 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought that this book was delightfully perceptive for a short novel that touches subtlety on modern day issues that concern mass opinion. Some would argue that Nothomb engineers a brutal plot that is cruelly blatant and the inhumanity is too obvious however I believe her nuances of the power of freedom and relationships are conveyed with experience and care.
Jul 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: around-the-world
I gobbled this up in one sitting which in hindsight probably wasn't the best approach but I just couldn't stop. Maybe that's another comment on our appetite for suffering? There was so much packed in here that it definitely deserves breaks for reflection and a reread.
Antony Blc
Aug 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really good !
Oct 25, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting novel from Amelie Nothomb where a concentration camp is turned into a reality TV show.
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Der "Erwachsenen-...: Diskussion zu Reality-Show 23 36 Feb 19, 2017 02:04AM  
Ácido sulfúrico 1 2 Jan 10, 2016 10:39AM  
Book Club: Ácido Sulfúrico 8 27 Oct 04, 2013 08:33AM  

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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 politi
“Deje de decir nosotros, tenga la valentía de decir yo.” 11 likes
“Eso es el heroísmo: a cambio de nada.” 6 likes
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