'I lived everything during these three years: heroism, glory, treachery, love, indifference, suffering, humiliation.
It was China, I was seven years old.' So announces the narrator of Loving Sabotage, Amelie Nothomb's critically acclaimed novel about a young girl already stripped of illusions.
The daughter of diplomats posted to Peking in the mid-seventies, our unnamed narrator charges about her tightly enclosed world on her 'horse' (bicycle) with the dictatorial clarity and loneliness of a warrior-philosopher. 'From puberty onwards', she announces at one point, 'life is just an epilogue'.
There, on the asphalt-playground-battlefield, she discovers her first love: six-year-old Elena, her very own coldly indifferent 'Helen of Troy'.
But she also learns life's hardest rule: that if she wants to be loved, she must be cruel in return.
Poignant, provocative - and often hilarious - Loving Sabotage chronicles one girl's precocious understanding of the struggles and pains of adult life.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 144 pages
- Publisher: Faber & Faber
- Publication Date: 03/11/2005
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780571226634