"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, Amélie Nothomb’s critically acclaimed novel about a young girl who seems already stripped of illusions. The daughter of diplomats posted to Peking for three years in the mid-seventies, she charges about the grim confines of the gated government housing ghetto of San Li Tun on her "horse" (bicycle). In a tireless battle against boredom, she concocts a fantasy life as rich as her surroundings are bleak. During one of her tours of duty as a pathfinder in a war that has broken out in the ghetto between the children of various nations—a hilarious microcosm of "adult" world politics—she encounters a young Italian girl, Elena: beautiful, aloof, disdainful of silly games. Our heroine is instantly infatuated, and comes to realize the only fight worthy of her energies is shattering Elena’s indifference.
Provocative, outrageous and caustically funny, Loving Sabotage recounts a precocious girl’s understanding of the struggles and pains of adult life.
Amélie Nothomb : Amélie Nothomb is an international best-selling author and has been translated into 26 languages. Of her eleven previous novels, five have been translated into English: The Stranger Next Door (Henry Holt), Loving Sabotage (New Directions), winner of the “Grand Prix de l’Académie Française” Fear and Trembling, (St. Martin’s), The Character of Rain, (St. Martin’s), and The Book of Proper Names (forthcoming from St. Martin’s). She was born in Kobe, Japan and has lived in Bangladesh, Burma, Laos, New York and China; she currently resides in Paris and Brussels.