Hygiene and the Assassin (Paperback)
December 2010 Indie Next List
“In this debut novel, originally published in 1992, a Nobel Laureate novelist spars with several journalists he has agreed to meet upon learning that he has only two months to live. Each of the interviews ends with little satisfaction on either side until, finally, a young woman journalist manages to hold her own. She's the only one who has read his novels, and she raises questions about his life and work that lead to an unexpected conclusion. Written almost entirely in dialogue, the book reads like a brilliant and graceful fencing match, and we are pulled along, unsure who will win.”
— Alice Meloy, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, TX
Published in English for the first time, Nothomb's award-winning novel tells the story of a reclusive and dying Nobel laureate author who grants access to five journalists. But what they find is far from the literary luminary they imagined.