Amélie Nothombs Körper- und Essenspoetik: Esssucht als Dispositiv für Kunst im Roman Une forme de vie (2010)
Amélie Nothombs fictional works features a special emphasis on topics related to food as a taste experience as well as in its relation to psychological discomfort. Consonant with the major role of physical appearance in her novels is the constantly occurring dichotomy obesity versus skinniness, overeating versus starving, often closely related to the further opposition beauty versus ugliness.
The paper analyzes the complex metaphorical connotations of obesity in Nothomb’s nineteenth book Une forme de vie (2010). This partly epistolary novel explores the obesity of the binge-eating protagonist as a willful addiction, a way of coping with the moral outrage at the experience of fighting in Iraq. At the same time, Nothomb’s staging of obesity in the novel shows underlying implications which arise from a close association of reading and eating, also constantly present in her production since her first novel Hygiène de l’assassin (1992). The obese body becomes a figure of the text as a work of art and leads to an exploration of questions related to the fragile status of literary "truth".