TO READ · 02/16/2018
Books We Love: “Tokyo Fiancée” by Amélie Nothomb
It’s 1989 in Tokyo, Japan. Amelie is a 22-year-old Belgian on a quest to reconnect with her Japanese roots. She needs a job and puts up a notice offering her services as a French tutor. That very evening, the phone rings. On the other end is her one and only student, Rinri.
“Tokyo Fiancée” is a charming and poetic (and highly autobiographical!) tale of two unlikely beings merging. With cultural differences and language barriers galore, Rinri and Amelie discover each other, their friends, family, and Japan. It is a story about koi, rather than love. What is koi, you ask? The term used in Japan to describe a relationship that is “light, fresh, fluid and devoid of seriousness.” While Amelie delights in koi, Rinri, ever the diligent student, plays at love. No other type of fancy could be more suited to our heroine as, in addition to seeking companionship, she equally strives to retain a strong sense of identity and independence.