Éditions Albin Michel
Antéchrista, best-selling novelist Amélie Nothomb’s latest book, is a sharply funny story about the entertaining struggle between an introverted outsider and an extroverted insider. “On the first day, I saw her smile. From that very moment, I wanted to know her.” Blanche, like everyone in the novel, is instantly drawn to the beautiful and popular Christa. But Blanche is the outcast of her high school; she has no friends, social life, love interest, or nice clothes, only a passion for reading alone in her room. Therefore no one is more surprised than Blanche when Christa asks to sleep over at her house once a week to avoid her long commute to school. As Blanche’s parents are won over by Christa’s charm and vitality – two qualities their own daughter seemingly lacks – the weekly sleepovers become more frequent until one day, to Blanche’s shock and outrage, they offer Christa a permanent bed in their daughter’s room! Blanche, meanwhile, begins to regret what she wished for. Christa slowly intrudes on her personal space, undermines her in front of her parents, subjects her to tedious recaps of her vacuous life, and cruelly chisels away at her already non-existent self-esteem. Yet Christa’s escalating narcissism and spitefulness go largely unnoticed because of the strong spell she has cast over everyone else. Only Blanche knows her by another, and truer, name: Antéchrista. This darkly comic tale blends together everyone’s deepest high school anxieties with notions of good and evil to create another one of Nothomb’s characteristically amusing, profound, and unforgettable works.
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.