So antifashion are Nothomb’s subjects that obesity is a running theme in her books. The author says she is a fan of sumo wrestling and admits to being obsessed by obese people. She volunteers that her fascination seems to be connected to the fact that she suffered from severe anorexia as an adolescent.
Meanwhile, Nothomb is practically athletic as an author. Last month, as she has every year for the past 11 years, she released her new book that recalls one of her early literary impulses. It’s titled "Robert des Noms Propres" after the French equivalent of Webster’s. But "it is nothing like a dictionary," she says. It tells the story of an exceptional child whose life is full of upheaval. Its publication has turned out to be the biggest talking point of the French literary rentrée.