There she is, staring at me. Mocks me. “You are a reader of a hundred novels a year and yet you have never opened a book of mine”. I hear her whisper. And maybe someone could take me for crazy but I have always talked to books with books. I always thought that as they passed them they would call me to them. And often this is how I choose them.

Since I started working in the bookstore, imagine how many items …

Before you call a shrink and send me to recovery, know that books are my only addiction, so be cute and cuddly and indulge me.

Nothomb’s books have been changed shelves several times since I’ve been in the bookstore, one of my bosses suggested me over and over again to get one, but when I walked past I didn’t feel the right vibrations.

Until two days ago.

I heard him, he clearly teased me, immersed in the reading of more well-known but less profitable authors  she, the Belgian writer who manages to upset you in a few pages, whispered to me that the time to meet had finally arrived.

I took “The Prince’s Act” because the plot[1] is the one that seemed closest to my tastes, I made myself a cold herbal tea  got a couple of cookies and I started this new adventure.

After about ten pages I understood why few know her but those few remain faithful to her forever!

Nothomb has a surreal type of writing, halfway between the spy novel, the theater of the absurd, the romance novel and the manual for champagne lovers, and focuses on the bizarre opportunity to change a disastrous life in a work of art of lies. “Cause of force majeure” is “a novel about the definition of one’s own ego” but with dreamlike and sometimes absurd, controversial tones. We do not know where it will end up and perhaps there is no purpose, no end. Simply the narrative follows the characters and their choices or non-choices. A bit like a camera aimed at a life without a script, there are dead times and contradictions and the story does not necessarily end when the novel is over.

It is certainly a kind of writing that is either loved or hated, with no middle ground. But I think it is worthwhile to dive into the head of this eccentric writer at least once through her extraordinarily well-written pages and so distant from everything else that one is used to reading.

A novelty.

Which can become a new habit (there are sixteen books available at the bottom), or a sweet summer break.

Yes, because it must be read in the summer, when our mind is free enough from too demanding thoughts and we can really dedicate ourselves to this other world. And I recommend doing it with a jazz background * that goes perfectly with the Nothomb style.


[1] During a conversation at the home of mutual acquaintances, a man tells the protagonist Baptiste Bordave a kind of macabre anecdote, and advises him to pretend, in case someone dies accidentally in his house, that he was missing during the transport to the hospital, to avoid legal complications. . The next day a stranger shows up at his house and asks him for permission to call because the car stopped due to a breakdown; but suddenly dies while on the phone. Struck by the coincidence with the conversation of the previous day, Baptiste does not ask for help, indeed from the documents of the dead man he discovers that his name is Olaf Sildur, he is Swedish and lives in Versailles. He takes possession of his Jaguar and reaches a luxury villa that gives him the idea of ​​abandoning his insignificant life and assuming the identity of the deceased. The house is inhabited by Sildur’s wife, who gradually turns out to be a Frenchwoman whom the man saved from drug addiction. The wedding seems to be the cover for a job of welcoming guests passing through, probably secret agents, who alternate between one mission and another. Baptiste soon falls in love with the beautiful woman, who lives in an artificial intoxication caused by the large reserves of champagne in the villa. But Baptiste’s curiosity drives him to try to identify to whom Olaf Sildur made the last call from his home, attracting the attention of someone who perhaps wanted the landlord dead.