Erma's Reviews > The Elegance of the Hedgehog

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
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's review
Jun 25, 12

bookshelves: fiction
Read from June 20 to 25, 2012

I devoured this book. Something about the mood I was in called for this sweet, quirky story wrapped around beautiful thoughts and deep philosophical musings. The characters make the book memorable: a middle-aged, overweight, plain-looking concierge of an upscale hotel in Paris who hides her intellectual gifts and love of art under a prickly disguise (the hedgehog), a too-serious, precocious girl who has given up on life, and Mr. oriental too-perfect, plus a cast of endearing or annoying minor characters. This moving journey into true friendship and the meaning of life is elegant in itself. That said, at times the treatises on phenomenology tested my patience. Other times I wanted to give the characters a good shake and tell them, "Life is not a banal existence. It is more than quiet desperation. Man has divine identity, purpose, and destiny."
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