The Book of Proper Names
Author: Amélie Nothomb, Shaun Whiteside
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: August 01, 2004
"To have an extraordinary life, Lucette believes, one must have an extraordinary name. Horrified by the pedestrian names her husband chooses for their unborn child (Tanguy if it's a boy, Joelle if it's a girl), Lucette does the only honorable thing to save her baby from such an unexceptional destiny - she kills her spouse. While in prison, Lucette gives birth to a daughter to whom she bequeaths the portentous name of an obscure saint, Plectrude, before hanging herself." From her beginnings, Plectrude seems fated for a life like no other. Raised by an indulgent and adoring aunt, she is a dreamy child who is discovered to have enormous gifts as a dancer. Accepted at Paris's most prestigious ballet school, Plectrude devotes herself to artistic perfection, giving dance her heart and soul - and ultimately her body. As her world shatters as easily as her bones, she learns to survive in the only way she knows how - by committing an act of deadly self-preservation her mother would have understood best.