The ninth novel from the prolific French author of such first-rate books as Fear and Trembling (2001) and The Stranger Next Door (1998) is autobiographical fiction with a difference. It relates, from cunningly varied viewpoints, the first three years in the life of Amélie, born in 1970 to a Belgian consul and his wife living in Japan. Initially a “tube” that only ingests, digests, and excretes, the infant gradually develops taste (for chocolate, specifically) and sensitivity, and grows into unillusioned awareness that her status as a pampered “goddess” represents a paradise she’ll soon have to leave. Witty and original. Perhaps the best yet from one of Europe’s finest younger writers.