The Elegance of the Hedgehog

The Elegance of the Hedgehog

Book rating: 04 Paperback

By (author) Muriel Barbery, Translated by Alison Anderson

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  • Publisher: Gallic Books
  • Format: Paperback | 320 pages
  • Dimensions: 128mm x 202mm x 26mm | 320g
  • Publication date: 1 May 2009
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 1906040184
  • ISBN 13: 9781906040185
  • Sales rank: 24

Product description

Rene is the concierge of a grand Parisian apartment building. She maintains a carefully constructed persona as someone uncultivated but reliable, in keeping with what she feels a concierge should be. But beneath this facade lies the real Rene: passionate about culture and the arts, and more knowledgeable in many ways than her employers with their outwardly successful but emotionally void lives. Down in her lodge, apart from weekly visits by her one friend Manuela, Rene lives with only her cat for company. Meanwhile, several floors up, twelve-year-old Paloma Josse is determined to avoid the pampered and vacuous future laid out for her, and decides to end her life on her thirteenth birthday. But unknown to them both, the sudden death of one of their privileged neighbours will dramatically alter their lives forever. By turns moving and hilarious, this unusual novel became the top-selling book in France in 2007.

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Customer reviews

By Ashleigh Kissane 11 Nov 2013 4

This book, whilst the language was occasionally exclusive, was utterly beautiful.
It builds upon a rich history of philosophy, culture, and comments on the restrictive nature of social convention.
The main characters were ultimately likeable, truthful, and tragic to the very end. It was impossible not to feel for either of them, which to me is a mark of a very talented author.
It felt genuine, if a little too introspective and philosophical at times, and the characters interacted flawlessly together, to create a rich tapestry of life in No 7. Rue de Grenelle.
It was an interesting look at the lives of the modern Bourgeoisie, with a commentary that was at times heartbreaking, and consistently poignant.
I will recommend this book to as many people as I can.