Shahrzad Salashur is the translator of Nothomb’s debut novel first published in 1992.

Nothomb is one of Europe’s most successful and controversial authors. She wrote “Hygiene and the Assassin” when she was only twenty-five, and it became an instant bestseller across Europe. 

Prétextat Tach, Nobel Prize winner and one of the world’s most renowned novelists, has two months to live. He has been in seclusion for years, refusing interviews and public appearances. 

But as news of his impending death becomes public, intrepid journalists from around the globe flock to his home in pursuit of an interview with the elusive author.

One after the other they discover that, far from being the literary luminary they imagined, Tach has become an obese misogynist, a petulant bigot, an embittered, and disgusting madman. 

The world’s most famous author turns out to be the worst misanthrope imaginable.

But Nina, the final journalist and the only female to interview Tach, calls the celebrated author’s bluff and beats him at his own game. 

Her questions and the author’s biting responses fly in a triumph of brilliant repartee, and Tach is led to a definitive confrontation with his past, while Nina discovers that in love nothing is ever as straightforward as it seems.

The novel was adapted for film by François Ruggieri in 1999. It starred Jean Yanne as Prétextat Tach, Barbara Schulz as Nina, as well as Catherine Hiegel, Sophie Broustal, Jean Prat and Richard Gotainer.


Source: Tehran Times