The Book of Proper Names

by Amelie Nothomb

Darkly comic tale of Plectrude, orphaned at birth in unusual circumstances. Being brought up like a little princess by an indulgent aunt, followed by the Paris Opera Ballet School may be the stuff of little girls' dreams but don't expect fairy dust and tiaras.


She went to get the revolver from where Fabien had hidden it. She came back towards the bed where the boy was sleeping. She looked at his handsome face as she aimed at his temple and murmured, 'I do love you, but I've got to protect the baby.'

She put the barrel to his head and fired until the magazine was empty.

She looked at the blood on the wall. Then, very calmly, she called the police. 'I've just killed my husband. You'd better come.'

Translated by Shaun Whiteside


The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter
The Lover by Marguerite Duras

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