The Elegance of the Hedgehog (Paperback)
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DescriptionRene 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.
- Published: 01 May 2009
- Format: Paperback 320 pages
- ISBN 13: 9781906040185 ISBN 10: 1906040184
- Sales rank: 21
Reviews for The Elegance of the Hedgehog
A Delicious Read
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. by Ashleigh Kissane
I was not happy with this book. It was just too intense for me. I could not relate to the characters at all. The young girl is completely unbelievable. I just could not picture a young girl being so philosophical yet unable to see the grand flaws of her 'master plan'. This book is too philosophical and the characters are unlikeable. The concierge is probably the only one whom you end up liking in the tragic end. I almost gave up reading several times, but i spent money on this thing so had to finish it. by shilpa raza
I found the book a bit boring, the plot developed very slowly and in the first few chapters I was struggling with the urge to put it down. However, by the end of the book it got interesting and the ending was partly sad. It is more intended to get you thinking about the meaning of life, social status and stereotypes. The ending in its self was not rewarding by mona abed algani
In praise of the Hedgehog
I loved the story about Renee and the people who lived in the apartment block in France. It was beautifully crafted and fascinating. You don't want the story to end. And it gave such pleasure to know that others in the book could see the beauty of Renee. A fabulous book. by Vivienne Breen
one of my top ten books
I LOVED this amazing beautifully written book. I loved the language and I loved the main character. I have read it twice. I don't read many books twice. I didn't want this book to end. Pam by pam
Not worth buying
The language is very complicated, you need a dictionary to hand! by linda mcsweeney
This is a really refreshing well written and original story - I bought this book and also Water for Elephants based on good reader reviews on Book Depository and I was not disappointed with either.
Great characterisations, the observations made in the story were very true. The book was so good - I wanted the story to continue for longer. by Dee Jones
This book is really stunning, the prose translates flawlessly and effortlessly from French and at times even sounds like poetry. Within the grander systems of the French bourgeoisie, the unhappy 'fate' of the concierge and the private disconcertment of Paloma, there are moments of hilarity and poignancy. This book is to be read both for its language but also its story, one which encompasses several characters all equally intriguing. by Nechama
I love this book. It does take a little effort to get used to the deept thoughts and concepts brought up, but well worth it. What a wonderful author! I look forward to reading her other novels. by Karyn Williams
A lovely book!
It took a long time for me to get into the rhythm of this book but I'm glad I persevered. The story was like a lovely melody; quietly, gently leading the reader on towards the crushing conclusion. I was devastated and yet strangely soothed by the language in the final pages. Yes, a lovely book but not for everyone. by Fiona Smith