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Stupeur et tremblements

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  19,722 ratings  ·  1,599 reviews
This is an alternate cover edition for isbn13: 9782253150718

Au début des années 90, la narratrice est embauchée par Yumimoto, une puissante firme japonaise. Elle va découvrir à ses dépens l'implacable rigeur de l'autorité d'entreprise, en même temps qu les codes de conduite, incompréhensibles au profane, qui gouvernent la vie sociale au pays du Soleil levant.

D'erreurs en m
Mass Market Paperback, 187 pages
Published June 1st 2001 by Le Livre de Poche (first published August 1999)
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Average rating 3.73  · 
Rating details
 ·  19,722 ratings  ·  1,599 reviews

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Jim Fonseca
Fear and Trembling by Amelie Nothomb

Something bothers me a lot about this novel.

It’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 i
Ahmad Sharabiani
Stupeur et tremblements = Fear and Trembling, Amélie Nothomb
Fear and Trembling (original title: Stupeur et tremblements, which means "Amazement 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 year.
عنوانها: بهت و لرز؛ ترس و لرز؛ اثر: آملی نوتومب؛ انتشاراتیها (کتاب نادر، نشر قطره) تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز سی و یکم ماه آگوست سال 2003
Feb 20, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary-fiction
*3.5 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 question 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 quite well. It does feel like we’re split into two camps and I ha
Nov 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Manny by: Yukie Nakao
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 more insight into it!

Rule 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 b
Paul Bryant
May 23, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
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 squirt of I will never understand this in a million years – get me out of this room!)

I 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 strange.

Then there was Natsuo Kirino. The novel was called Grotesque and it rea
Nov 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"Fear and Trembling" embraces the strange with a wicked arsenal of irrational but noble thoughts and 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 ...more
Jul 03, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I had mixed expectations when approaching Belgium's enfant terrible, Amélie Nothomb having heard plenty of praise and criticism in equal 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 quirky, 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 corpora ...more
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 Japan ...more
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
If this were published during the second world war, Amelie Nothomb would have been kidnapped and executed by the Japanese.

For reasons I didn't care to research and find out Nothomb, although Belgian by nationality and currently living in Paris, was born in Kobe, Japan. This book is based on her true experiences as a lowly employee in a big Japanese company for one whole year.

She had a layer of bosses, all Japanese. Her immediate superior, Miss Mori, was beautiful but pett
May 15, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Hahahaha - aren't Japanese people strange and weird and their culture is so crazy!!!

I 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 accept
Jun 18, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: french, never-again
The only problem with criticising S&T is the question of where to start? Perhaps with the author herself. It takes a certain kind of individual to be so ludicrously self-absorbed that they put themselves on the cover of near every book that they publish, proceeding to write a book about themselves on a near yearly basis. One can understand the reasoning behind this, if, perhaps, the author were someone improbably interesting. But alas no; she is a self-promoting, mousy, emotional masochist f ...more
Feb 12, 2015 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: snow storms
Recommended to Mariel by: you look nothing like David Bowie
Ancient Japanese protocol stipulated that the Empreror be addressed with "fear and trembling". I've always loved the expression, which so perfectly describes the way actors in Samurai films speak to their leader, their voices tremulous with almost superhuman reverence.

I would have fired Amélie. There's a judge and gavel going "Next!" That she should absolutely have been fired made me not care too much about her story. Work place nonsense beating the day dreams out of you with Alice in Wonderland
Viv JM
3.5 stars, rounded up. I am not sure satire is really my "thing" and it made me feel very uncomfortable...but I guess that's the point (?!), hence the rounding up.

This book is a fictionalised, satirical account of a young Belgian woman's year spent working for a large Japanese corporation and the constant stream of humiliations she suffers. While Nothomb is certainly sending up Japanese culture, she somehow manages to do this with quite an empathetic touch, and there are some very fu
It says a lot about the 1001 Books Before You Die list when one of the few examples of Women in Translation (WIT) lit is the living incarnation of the disillusionment of a weaboo upon arriving at the Japan of their dreams. Considering the fact that the author maintains a fiction of a Japanese birth place to the point of it being inscribed on the back cover of my copy, this has to be one of the worst instances of contemporary Orientalism that I've come across in some time, and I say this as someo ...more
Shawn Mooney (Shawn The Book Maniac)
What started out to be amusing soon turned ridiculously madcap—think Lucy at the chocolate factory madcap—and then jarringly serious. Japan’s work culture is pretty screwed up, yes, but I ended up hating this holier-than-thou, idiotic gaijin protagonist—seemingly an autobiographical stand-in for the author herself—far more. Just revolting.
Michael Finocchiaro
In this, her 5th novel, Amélie Nothomb because a Franco-Belgian literary superstar. She describes with graphic intensity the tribulations of a young protagonist "Amélie" working in a Japanese firm in Tokyo. It is funny and witty and was made into a film with Sylvie Testud playing Amélie. I loved the film and read the book afterwards finding it pretty good. I have not been entirely won over by Nothomb who has become a book factory - a book a year every year with over 100000 sales each time and ye ...more
In many places cringeworthy and full scale triggering second hand embarrassment. But both are very much on purpose. A well done examination of hierarchy (yes, on the example of Japan, but you'll something very similar in more than one office).
Elena Corgi
Jan 26, 2019 rated it it was ok
Quite pretentious and childish most of the time.
Two stars for helping me figuring out the Passé simple in French.
Feb 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I didn’t expect the book to be so funny: I laughed out loud more times than I can count (she suffered so much but her sense of humor was always on point: my kind of book). I really enjoyed it.
Mar 31, 2009 rated it it was ok
My reaction to this book probably says more about me than it does about the book itself. While I at times found Nothomb’s prose witty and the story in general to be consistently fast-paced and breezily written, the events it depicts frustrated me beyond belief. This autobiographical novel is about the horrible abuse Amélie suffers at a Japanese company where she’s originally hired as a translator and eventually demoted to bathroom attendant. You know how some people have an embarrassment squick, ...more
Aug 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
Amélie Nothomb was always way too popular for me to even think of trying one of her books. I might be snobbish or I might just be ignorant - in the end it's all about reading. If it hadn't been for J.'s recommendation (thank goodness for the chosen ones - my students of Romanian - with whom I can exchange opinions on books, films and other stuff), I would have never tried it.

Perfect for one afternoon, a weekend - if you're a slow reader or even a short holiday - if you take reading as sleeping
Salam Ch
Sep 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
finally experienced the Nothomb sensation!!! :-)
till the half of the book it was ordinary nothing outstanding the big fat serpent started hissing and the legendary Nothomb was about to fall from my reading Eden suddenly with a spectacular mind blowing madness scene humbly she invited me to the great Nothombic realm of wisdom and unique philosophy yet so simple and funny, effortlessly connected with her till the end of book still struggling to disconnect!!
so thankful to my friends Hod
Aug 30, 2009 added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Marlene
Recommended to Mickeynana by: Anette
One of my book club selections, this very small book ended up creating a solid two hours of discussion, thanks in large part to the book club member who chose it. Rather than discuss obvious questions....she pulled about a dozen "themes" from the book, like LOVE, DUTY, HONOR, EGO, etc and used those as a jumping off point for relating our experiences. Very compelling and very entertaining.
Once you accept that you don't have to love Amélie and agree with everything she says, this is a fun and interesting book. I started it at 3am last night and stayed up until morning to finish it. I simply couldn't put it down.
Daniel Sevitt
Feb 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: translated
I don’t remember what prompted me to pick this up. Some author I was admiring mentioned this in an interview I think. And I found it cheap online. And it’s 130 pages. Low risk. What a delight. A novella translated from French about working in Japan. Properly funny but trading also in loneliness and feelings of inadequacy that bubble up in the workplace. Quite unlike anything else and a delightful discovery.
Jan 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
A great short read, not a single boring page. Amazing insight in Japanese work life. I must admit that I also used to adore Japanese culture in my early adolescence. But it seems so far away from our European values and understanding that it's hard to imagine a life there.
May 15, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Kim, Virginie, Wanda
Just arrived from France through BM.

This is the story of a Belgian interpreter who works in a big Japanese company in Kyoto.


With plenty of humor and irony, the author describes how the hierarchy scheme is able to destroy the character of an Occidental foreign young woman who struggles to be accepted and recognize by her work.


Page 20:

Le cerveau nippon est proclament capable de se forcer a oublier une langue. Le cerveau occidental n'en a pas les moyens.


Page 117:

Elle marcha vers moi, avec Hiroshima dans l'oeil droit et Nagasaki dans l'oeil117:






Martin Yankov
Jan 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This was amazing! Truly amazing!

The book is just 100 pages long and I can talk about it and everything I learned from it for hours! HOURS!

It's a great book for anyone interested in cultural psychology. A must read, actually. It's about the differences between the East and the West, told from the perspective of a very thoughtful young woman who understands both words and kinda loves them both.
It's written in a simple, elegant manner and sometimes it's an actual poetry, so lovely and
Stupeur et Tremblement gives an intesting insight into the world of Japanese work attitudes. It is told from the perspective of a Western woman who spent part of her childhood in Japan and speaks perfect Japanese. She decides to work in Japan for one year. Her background should make it easier for her to adjust than to other Western people but she still struggles a lot: the Japanese culture and the constant fear to loose one's face are just too different from what we know.
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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
“Honor sometimes means doing something very unwise. Behaving like an idiot is better than dishonor. To this day I blush for having chosen sensible restraint over common decency.” 16 likes
“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.

These precepts would be merely anecdotal if they weren’t taken so much to heart.”
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