TITLE: Strike Your Heart
AUTHOR: Amelie Nothomb
PUBLISHER: Europa Editions
PUB. YEAR: 2018
SETTING: France (small town)
FORMAT: - library
FORMAT: - library
RATING: 5/5 stars
"Strike Your Heart" - that's where genius lies -- Alfred de Musset
Diana is the firstborn, one of 3 children born to Marie and her pharmacist husband. Marie was used to being the pretty girl everyone envied, but when she became pregnant at 20 with Diana, she wasn't expecting how much her life would change. After Diana was born, she becomes the center of attention and, Marie's jealousy causes her to shun her infant daughter and become a cold, distant mother. This behavior by Marie was even more evident after the birth of the other two children: Nicholas and Celia. On the contrary, she begins a new pattern of obsessive love over Celia, the youngest child.
I loved this quote --
"Before long Nicholas, too, realized something was wrong. His mother went on loving him but there would be no comparison with the transports of love she experienced with Celia. When he saw Diana was seeking grandmotherly asylum, he told his older sister that he would stay at home to stop Maman from eating Celia as if she were some coconut cake."
But, this story is really about Diana, who grew up with grandparents and later when they are killed in a car crash, living in with her friend Elisabeth's family. Later as Diane pursues med school in the hopes of becoming a cardiologist, she meets an assistant professor, Olivia Aubusson who in many ways reminds her of her own mother in the way Olivia treats her own daughter Mariel.
I love stories about complex mother-daughter relationships. It's difficult to say too much for about this slim, gem of a novel (just 135 pages). It packs a punch. Easily read in one sitting, this story is one that will surely stick with me; it's brilliant. Try it!