In her new book titled ’Sulphuric Acid’ published in France, the successful Belgian author Amelie Nothomb describes a “concentration camp reality show”. The first French critics to review the book have given it a big ’thumbs down’. The Jewish community have yet to react.
Nothomb, known to be an eccentric and at times shocking author, wrote several successful books such as “Human rites” and “Antechrista” which have been translated in some 30 countries.
The latest novel by Nothomb, which was released on August 25, tells the story of a reality show called “concentration”. In this show, there are ’candidates’ which are arrested in roundups, tattooed and guarded by capos before they are executed one by one following a vote by the spectators.
First press critics
The first critics to have read it shot the novel down, saying it was not only indecent but also badly written. Several journalists, such as Pierre Vavaseur from Le Parisien daily, consider Nothomb’s fourteenth novel a disgrace.
In an article titled: ’Amelie Nothomb’s Book Revolts us’, Vavaseur denounced “an obscene way of drawing tragedy from the camps. This can turn the Shoah into a commonplace (subject matter). The whole thing looks like a sickly marketing technique.”
Other critics say Nothomb’s book is as bad as the reality shows she is trying to denounce.
Marc Lambron from Le Point magazine considers Nothomb’s writing in “sulphuric acid” as unsophisticated and even childish. The paragraphs are extremely short, the sentences are over-simplified and the typography is huge.
“She adapted her writing for reality-TV fans. She is soliciting new audiences,” writes Lambron. The story itself could have been written by a strange little girl.
“It seems as though Amelie Nothomb is a child that wants to shock grownups […] but fails to get any attention”, Lambron continues.
Since the publication of her first novel in 1992, Amelie Nothomb continued to engage and to provoke her readers through her exploration of the fluid boundaries between beauty and monstrosity, good and evil, fable and reality, as well as by her fascinating presentation of childhood, anorexia, and the abject.