Tokyo Fiancee by Amelie Nothomb

Tokyo Fiancee by Amelie Nothomb: I have no idea how much of this “highly autobiographical” work is supposed to be true, so I’m going to treat it like a novel. Amelie is a Belgian woman living in Japan in the early 1980s. Rinri, a Japanese man close to her age, comes to her for French lessons, and soon they begin dating. It’s clear from the beginning that while Amelie likes Rinri very much, she harbors no romantic feelings for him. His personality is actually not very well defined; he seems to exist mostly in reaction to her antics. The whole situation is rather awkward and their inevitable split is heartbreaking. I did enjoy Amelie’s somewhat spiritual adventures in mountain climbing, and her experiences with Japanese culture were charmingly familiar, but as a romance I found it largely disappointing. I don’t like finishing a book disliking the main character, but up until that point it was kind of nice.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

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