Melody's Reviews > The Elegance of the Hedgehog

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
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's review
Apr 06, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: wow-bookgroup
Read in July, 2009

I’m not quite sure what is elegant about a hedgehog, but I haven’t ever seen one in person so they might be strikingly elegant and their photos just don’t convey that. But despite that, I enjoyed the French translated book The Elegance of the Hedgehog.

The story is told from two points of view: The concierge of a posh French apartment house and one of the young residents of this same hôtel particulier. Neither of them is particularly happy. Both are very intelligent and feel the need to hide this from the world. Both, not only hide their cleverness but hide themselves as well and have very few, if any, real friends.

Paloma is 12, is taking Japanese as her second foreign language and is teaching herself everything she can about Japan. She loves Haikus and, on June sixteenth, she is planning on burning down the apartment and then killing herself.

Renée is 54. She is a widow and is the concierge at number 7 rue de Grenelle. She describes herself as short, ugly and plump and believes that she is just about invisible to the residents who live in the eight luxury apartments, except when they need a package mailed, or plants watered, or unwelcomed guests turned away.

The story is of their pain, their contact, and their growth. It’s lovely.
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message 1: by Monica (new) - added it

Monica I saw a hedgehog in a British friend's garden in broad daylight. Being American, seeing it was really quite shocking.

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