ResumenAttentat is a Belgian novel by Amélie Nothomb. It was first published in 1997.
In Attentat, the novelist creates two original characters for her readers. On the one hand, the grotesque yet enlightened Epiphane Otos is both refined and vulnerable. On the other hand Ethel, a smart young actress, is portrayed as incredibly beautiful. The story is about Epiphane's love for and devotion to Ethel. It is also a pretext for discourse on the idea of societal norms. Like in all books by Amélie Nothomb, literary and artistic references abound. The use of little known vocabulary is equally an essential style trait of this novelist's work.
All the author's ideas support the debate she puts forward on normality. What is a norm? What is the role, involuntary or not, played by society in the elaboration of such standards? Amélie Nothomb skillfully demonstrates depictions of beauty and ugliness throughout the dialogue between Epiphane and Ethel: We are thrown by others views, shaped by them. On a wider scale, Amélie Nothomb invites us to question our philosophies and core beliefs, through the character of Epiphane Otos.
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