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Tokyo Fiancée

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  6,574 ratings  ·  689 reviews
Amélie is a young language teacher living in Tokyo. When she succumbs to the attentions of a student--the shy, wealthy, and oh-so-Japanese Rinri--the lovers find themselves swept along by an affair that is as unusual as it is tender.
Paperback, 160 pages
Published December 30th 2008 by Europa Editions (first published August 22nd 2007)
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Camille Simonet I think it is because the borders between fiction and non-fiction are diffuse. I would label it as a fiction with autobiographical tones. When you…moreI think it is because the borders between fiction and non-fiction are diffuse. I would label it as a fiction with autobiographical tones. When you read it it is clear why. (less)

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3.69  · 
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 ·  6,574 ratings  ·  689 reviews

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Eliyanna Kaiser
Jul 13, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: general-fiction
Dear Ms. Nothomb,

Next time you act like a despicable human being and feel guilty about the reprehensible way you have treated someone, spare the lot of us the torture of being subject to your memoir writing.

Just pick up the phone and tell the guy you're sorry.



Feb 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: from-library
How do you know an author is talented? One way is when you cannot stop reading, even though not much is happening plotwise. This was Tokyo Finacee for me. Nothomb creates striking images with very few words, and their arresting quality is not lost in translation.

(Note: The title is Tokyo Fiancée)


"The concept of freedom has been spoken of so often that from the very first words I want to yawn. The physical experience of freedom, however, is something else all together. You should always hav
Jun 08, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Alexis by: goodreads
Shelves: french
The bulk of this book was more about culture clash than about a relationship, and I very much enjoyed the narrator’s musings on the pitfalls and delights of developing relationships in foreign languages. The problem is that the book reads very much like any 20-year-old’s study abroad journal: there’s a lot of reporting what happened, but no larger theme, no real character development, nothing to tie it together as a story.

Until, of course, the very end, when the narrator’s attempts to draw conc
Apr 27, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Amelie Nothomb is some weird mixture of French and Belgian and Japanese that I still don't quite understand. And my attempts at understanding left me occasionally confused. Despite each of her works being separated memoirs, each of which can supposedly be read not in conjunction with the others, I feel like, if I wanted to better understand this book, I should have read some of her other works, which she constantly referenced, first. She seemed to just assume, in any case, that I knew all of the ...more
Taghreed Jamal el deen
Here is a review by Eliyanna:
الريفيو المرفق يمثل رأيي تماماً 👌🏻
Feb 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: asian-books
My passion, besides reading, is watching and collecting Asian movies and dramas. I watch a great deal of Chinese and Korean cinema and TV, but my specialty is Japanese. I was at my library when they put the film 'Tokyo Fiancee' on the shelf and my hand shot out and grabbed it in a blink of the eye. I found the film intensely interesting. I haven't been so upset by an ending in quite a long time. I returned the film and took home the book. I can say the same for the book and remark the book's end ...more
Jun 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: japan
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I devoured this book. I couldn't get enough. The English translation (thanks Europa Editions!) is called "Tokyo Fiancee" and centers around Amelie's love affair with a fella named Rinri while living & teaching in Japan. This book is just written so beautifully that I couldn't put it down. Amelie is committed to freedom as much as she is committed to Rinri and watching her navigate that tension is simply perfect and beautiful. I underlined nearly every sentence in the last chapter of the book ...more
Thurston Hunger
Feb 01, 2009 rated it liked it
This is my third translation of Nothomb's work. With each book I find her writing more and more closer to the autobiographical bone. The other two stories I read seemed to deal with love in an unorthodox manner (a child in love with another child) and weird office politics (love/hate).

Here is a capture of a seemingly all-too-real relationship, where one loves and the other likes. So, to me there is a bit of strained pain in reading through the passages and plight of their relationship. It almost
Jan 03, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: japandemonium
This would have better titled You'll See, what Amelie's boyfriend always replies when she asks what they're going to do when they meet.

Amelie is a Belgian who left Japan at the age of five and has returned at 21 to learn Japanese by teaching French in Tokyo. Rinri is her 20-year-old student, who majors in French in his "train stop" university. It is a well-written, amusing, insightful, and frequently philosophical autobiographical tale, but this is not a love story. Rather, this is a story of te
Jan 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
This is not my first Nothomb book. For those of you in the same position, this explains a lot. I couldn't wait to embrace the book as soon as I read the first page. At the near end, I simply wanted more. Even though you could not imagine a more satisfying ending, a more consice expression of emotion and never a lack of, you are always fascinated with the author. She manages to be brief enough to let you know that she still has volumes left in her. You never doubt the complexity of her feelings n ...more
Dec 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Perfect. It's an incredible simple love story
Apr 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh, Japan is so wonderful 3
But the ending made me sad, and I don’t want to be sad now :( Love stories should have happy endings :(
May 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For me the ending feels so right. May be because it reflects how I perceive the world now.
May 09, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A romance happened between a French girl (Amelie herself) and a Japanese rich boy.
Just feel she's taking an advantage of him all the way but she never feels sorry about it. It sucks.
May 28, 2019 rated it it was ok
Some cringe worthy Orientalism in this book... weirdly ill considered for someone who often touts their ties to Japan? A shame, I’ve found some other work by Nothomb to be laugh out loud funny.
Jan 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I don't know anything about Amélie Nothomb, but I picked this particular book on a whim and endedd up enjoying it a lot. It's not like it has any special message in it, but 'Tokyo Fiancée' is fun, and Amélie's thought process is quite entertaining to read about.

Basically, it's a story about a 22 year old woman, who returns to Japan where she was born, after spending the biggest part of her life in Belgium. In Tokyo Amélie meets Rinri, a guy who helps her get reaccuainted with the country, it's l

Ali Kennedy
May 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is my first Nothomb experience and I love her style of writing. Very concise and no overuse of adjectives. She doesn't go into depth with her character descriptions yet they come to life so well - I feel that I really got to know these people.

In me, it developed a greater curiosity for Japan and the beauty that she sees in such an interesting, and traditional country.

I can't say I am a fan of her attitude/morals at the end; the way she understood that Rinri would respond like a gentleman
May 16, 2010 rated it liked it
I liked this a lot more than the last Nothomb book I read: it didn’t make me squirm-in-my-seat uncomfortable, for one thing. Fear and Trembling is all about humiliation and degradation and having to work a shitty job for a living; Tokyo Fiancée is about travel and wonder and love—the dark sides of all the above, too, but still, it’s no contest, is it? Nothomb would roll her eyes at me (for a number of reasons), but this book just increased my desire to go to Japan.
This one was a bit disappointing, especially after rereading her previous Japanese inspired book. It has bits and pieces of brilliance but over all it's more a "dialogue de sourds" where Amélie, the narrator does her thing and kinda has a love affair with this very atypical Japanese young man Rinri, who seems interesting but we never get to know him, we know even less at the end of the book, even why he was interested in Amélie. The words and style is gorgeous but they have no substance to make ...more
Malena Watrous
Jan 13, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Why doesn't Goodreads have the American title for this novel? Anyhow, I have been following Nothomb for a while now and I admire the way she can write a slim novel--novellas, really--dramatizing a single idea. Her perspective on Asia is also interesting to me, the way that she admits to romanticizing this place where she spent her early childhood, and still loves it as an adult, even though it never quite matches those memories. She's smart and reflective and simultaneously earnest and funny.
Feb 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Amelie Nothomb is a stitch. She writes a very wry and funny story, of her years in Tokyo and falling in love (or not) with a student there. She wants desperately to embrace Japanese culture, but remains very Belgian to the core. Her bits about Americans were scathingly funny, and told as much about her prickly personality as it did about the Americans she met.
Mar 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: after-japan
The inside cover describes this love story as completely unique and unexpected. I thought she had stolen the story from my journal changing only the details of my country of orgin, digs at Americans, and every one knows I would NEVER hike mountains like a norwegian god, but the rest was my love story. Well written, funny, and true, very very true.
Jun 18, 2013 rated it it was ok
What am I missing here? I found this "novel" so fatuous and self-congratulatory I wasn't sure what the author's intention was besides celebrating how quirky she finds herself.
May 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor, japan
Loved it! In her story Nothomb manages to combine romance, humor and even insight into linguistic and cultural differences between Europeans and the Japanese.
Incertae sedis
This is a quick read, as expected from Amelie Nothomb - a novella at best, despite her French editor marketing and pricing those as novels (clever - that opens up a lot more literary prizes). As usual, the writing is concise and populated with cultural references and attempted bonmots. When I want a quick, easy but well-written read, Amelie Nothomb is a sure bet.

But. What a pedant! Amelie loves herself and wants you to know it. She is an edgy child whose first memory of music was Liszt and who s
Sep 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lovely and lively book, a combination of exotic and familiar, of lightness and insightfulness, a cultural study and an individual journey, a book about both Amelie and her reader. It's a story of coming of age and finding a path in life told against a backdrop of a romance in a foreign country.

The relationship story is entertaining, and rather unusual. We see different approaches by partners of different cultures: fun vs. commitment. Or perhaps the difference is not cultural, but simply human, b
Mar 21, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Orientalist garbage.

The whole book is her expressing her "love" to Japan but this love never goes further than considering it as that weird and incomprehensible yet appealing culture and never makes an effort to see them as actual human beings. She constantly mocks their people while showing a weird obssesion with being "a real japanese", apparently much more worthy of the title than any other actual japanese person. All of this is obviously more evident in her relationship with Rinri; she stat
Jan 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed the author's Stupeur et tremblement, which is set in the same time period of her life. While that explores her time working in Japan, this book is about her time off, when she is dating a Japanese man named Rinri.

Typical for the author, the book is quite funny and insightful. It was especially amusing to read about a woman's adventures trying to relearn her childhood language (in this case Japanese) while I, myself, was doing the same (in this case French).

And language plays a h
Oct 09, 2017 rated it did not like it
I'm between projects right now and cannot come up with any good ideas, so I'm just going to write about that time I lived in Japan for a while and dated a Japanese guy. I can't remember a lot of details, so I'll just keep it vague, which is fine cause it just needs to be 150 pages. The time wasn't significant: I didn't learn anything, grow as a person, or, even in retrospect, see how the event molded me into who I am today, so I don't need to establish what kind of person I was since I'm still t ...more
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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 political fa
“Il n'y a rien de gentil à laisser de faux espoirs. L'ambiguïté est la source de la douleur.” 69 likes
“أنا، دون أن أتمكن من فهم ذلك، كنت أنتظر شيئا آخر. لم أكن أعلم ماهيته، لكنني كنت وائقة من أنني أتمناه. والرغبة تكون أعنف حين نجهل الشيء” 21 likes
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