Gitte - Bookworm's Closet's Reviews > Pindsvinets elegance

Pindsvinets elegance by Muriel Barbery
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really liked it
bookshelves: 2012, french

A very original book that touched my heart and made me laugh.

The story is about Renée, a concierge in a posh apartment in Paris. She's a well-read and intellectual woman, but she feels a strong need to hide this side of her personality from the world – and the residents in her building. So she plays the role of the ignorant concierge.

And then there's Paloma: A twelve-year-old clever girl who has decided to kill herself on her thirteenth birthday. She feels alienated from the grown-ups in her life and fears becoming like them when she grows up. And that’s why she decides not to grow up.

I’ve read many reviews criticizing Paloma, saying she was depicted as too smart for her age. I have to say I disagree. Yes, she is extremely intelligent and so much smarter than other kids her age. But some kids are just smart. Menza-smart. And even though Paloma is smarter at the age of 12 than I or anyone I know would ever be, I never stopped believing in her as a character. And that’s because the writing was so good: Paloma’s chapters really felt like they were written by a child. This was elegantly done and made her realistic to me.

One thing that bothered me was that the book was a bit too philosophical for my taste, and there were some parts that I just skimmed through.

At first I thought that Renée’s obsession with keeping her life a secret was a bit too much and I kept thinking "why is she like this? It's so unnecessary" But at the end it made sense. And it also had a very important function: It helped make absolutely clear that she wasn't trying to be intellectual because of prestige or status, she read books out of pure passion. And by hiding her real self, the reader never had her down as a fake, and this helped contrast her with the other characters in the book. But I didn’t really get that till the end of the book.
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Quotes Gitte - Bookworm's Closet Liked

Muriel Barbery
“Beautiful things should belong to beautiful souls.”
Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog

Reading Progress

September 30, 2012 – Started Reading
September 30, 2012 – Shelved
September 30, 2012 –
page 72
October 2, 2012 –
page 153
October 5, 2012 –
page 203
October 8, 2012 –
page 297
October 9, 2012 – Shelved as: 2012
October 9, 2012 – Shelved as: french
October 9, 2012 – Finished Reading

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