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Book of the week: Strike Your Heart by Amélie Nothomb

'Strike Your Heart’ is a finely honed, piercing novel. No wonder it is acclaimed in France. If you are human, it will strike your heart, too.', The Washington Post.

Diane is raised by a mother so plagued by jealousy of her own daughter that she is incapable of showing affection to her. Despite this, Diane grows up to become a brilliant young woman who rejects societal expectations. She forges her own path, dismissing suitors and pursuing her dream of becoming a cardiologist. At university, she befriends the assistant professor Olivia. Intelligent and cold, Olivia’s ambition and need to feel superior to others drags Diane down to a dark place.

This is the story of Diane’s relationships with other women: her best friend, the sweet Élisabeth; her mentor, the selfish Olivia; her sister, the coddled Célia; and, of course, her mother, Marie.

Amélie Nothomb balances light-hearted observations with crushing revelations, exposing the spectrum of female bonds. Strike Your Heart takes a philosophical look at jealousy, contempt, loss, betrayal, and above it all, the capacity for forgiveness.  

With her trademark wit, brevity, and tightly wound plots, Amélie Nothomb, one of Europe’s most acclaimed and beloved authors, has crafted an insightful story about a modern heroine who will linger in the minds of readers long after the final page.

Discover the twenty-fifth novel of the enigmatic Amélie Nothomb, Strike Your Heart, published by Europa Editions and translated by Alison Anderson.


Amélie Nothomb was born in Japan of Belgian parents in 1967 and now she lives in Paris. Since her debut on the French literary scene, she has published a novel a year, every year. Her edgy fiction, unconventional thinking, and public persona have combined to transform her into a worldwide literary sensation. Her books have been translated into over fifteen different languages and been awarded numerous prizes including the French Academy’s 1999 Grand Prix for the Novel, the René-Fallet prize, the Alain-Fournier prize, and the Grand Prix Giono in 2008.

Alison Anderson spent many years in California, she now lives in a Swiss village and works as a literary translator. Her translations include Europa Editions’ The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery, and works by Nobel laureate J. M. G. Le Clézio. She has also written two previous novels and is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Literary Translation Fellowship.

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