Life Form, Amélie Nothomb's nineteenth novel is a smart, singular, surreal novel about personality and philosophy, trauma and healing, solitude and human connection from one of the most widely read and beloved authors working today.
One morning, the heroine of this book, a famous author named Amélie Nothomb, receives a letter from a fan, Melvin Mapple, an American soldier stationed in Iraq. Horrified by the endless violence around him, he takes comfort in eating. He eats and eats until his ever-growing bulk starts to suffocate him and he can barely fit into his oversized clothes. Disgusted with himself, but unable to control his eating, he labels his excess self Scheherazade as a type of coping mechanism.
Repulsed but also fascinated by Mapple's story, Nothomb begins to exchange letters with him. She opens up to Melvin about the challenges of being in the public spotlight and about her artistic processes. An epistolary friendship of sorts develops, one that delves into universal questions about human relationships. The bond between Mapple and Nothomb will undergo a sea of change when the novelist discovers bizarre facts lurking behind Mapple's complex personal story.
Life Form is a riveting and topical novel by an author who never fails both to delight and to surprise her readers.