fiction files redux discussion

The Elegance of the Hedgehog
This topic is about The Elegance of the Hedgehog
52 views
Authors > Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog

Comments Showing 1-12 of 12 (12 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Patty, free birdeaucrat (new) - rated it 4 stars

Patty | 896 comments Mod
I know Micha wanted to start a discussion, so I'm starting a thread. I think there are a bunch of us who have read The Elegance of the Hedgehog, by Muriel Barbery at this point. I seem to have given my copy to someone, and without it I only really remember vague moments. So here's the thread, and hopefully someone will say something interesting, and I'll chime in later. :)


message 2: by Kerry, flame-haired janeite (last edited Aug 31, 2010 11:23AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kerry Dunn (kerryanndunn) | 886 comments Mod
So I'm going to start right away with SPOILERS, so if you haven't read this STAY AWAY!!!




So what did you think about the ending, specifically Renee's death? I was PISSED. To me it was like: why did I read about this woman's journey of self discovery and watch her blossom and finally open herself up to other human beings if you were just going to KILL her in the end? Now normally, I enjoy a non-traditional, unhappy ending, but this one just made me angry. And I can't remember it all (it's been several months since I read it, and my memory is mushy) but wasn't there something with Renee's sister that basically taught them that rich people were "bad" and then Renee befriends the rich Ozu and DIES? That just irritates me. I understand what Barbery was doing in killing Renee to essentially get Paloma NOT to kill HERself, but I would rather Paloma had decided not to kill herself because Renee showed her that not all adults are like her parents or other people in the building. Paloma could grow up and be like Renee. But no, we had to have the drama. And it got me, I cried my eyes out. But after the tears came the frustration.

Not that I didn't enjoy the book, I did. There are some seriously beautiful passages and I loved the characters, and I loved the art and literature and music and film references.

Anyway, hopefully this will get this thread started.

:)


Micha (selective_narcoleptic) | 92 comments Patty wrote: "I know Micha wanted to start a discussion, so I'm starting a thread. I think there are a bunch of us who have read The Elegance of the Hedgehog, by Muriel Barbery at this point. I se..."
Thank you SO much Patty!!! I've been trying to figure out how to begin this discussion for weeks!!!


message 4: by Kerry, flame-haired janeite (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kerry Dunn (kerryanndunn) | 886 comments Mod
Oh and apparently there is a film adaptation!

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1442519/

But it's not available on Netflix and is only available used on Amazon.com at the lowest price of $26.99. Not sure I want to spend that or not. Wish I could see it first.


Micha (selective_narcoleptic) | 92 comments What I found to be the most interesting effect from reading this book was how it branched into my life culturally. Particularly where Ozu Yasujiro is concerned. Although I had not seen many of his films before reading "Hedgehog", I had attempted a couple of them (such as Good Morning) a few times with somewhat disappointed results. I was used to the flare of Kurosawa, but Ozu feels so much more homely, his themes understated, after such brightness. Then, after reading the chapter on Munekata Sisters, I decided to try again with one of his more famous works: Tokyo Story. And I LOVED it! It was one of the very best films I have ever seen! The homeliness was altered into a graceful simplicity. The themes into familiarity. I could understand them! I could connect them to other films or moments. Perhaps I simply was too young to appreciate them the first time around?

Whatever the change, Elegance of the Hedgehog gave me a new found appreciation of the ideas of a cinematic master, so what I began to wonder as I read through this novel was "did this book have any affect on anyone elses interests or give them any new appreciations or viewpoints?"


message 6: by Kerry, flame-haired janeite (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kerry Dunn (kerryanndunn) | 886 comments Mod
I was quite tickled by the thread of Anna Karenina and Tolstoy throughout the book because I had actually read AK for the first time a little over a year ago.

I've never seen any films by Ozu Yasajiro, but I WANT to see them after reading this book! I also made notes about wanting to look up the still life painting in the Ozu character's house and his bathroom music. But of course, I lent my copy of Hedgehog out and have to get it back to look up the names!


message 7: by Kerry, flame-haired janeite (last edited Aug 31, 2010 01:09PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kerry Dunn (kerryanndunn) | 886 comments Mod
So there is one point in the book where these questions are posed:

What is the purpose of art?

How is art born?

What does art do for us?


Do we dare try to answer these questions for ourselves?


Micha (selective_narcoleptic) | 92 comments Kerry wrote: "So there is one point in the book where these questions are posed:

What is the purpose of art?

How is art born?

What does art do for us?

Do we dare try to answer these questions for ou..."


I think this book was trying to answer these questions as much as ask them of us. for me, art is just someone else's self expression, some of which attempt to say something, others just feel - the real beauty comes from whether I feel it holds meaning for me as well as that artist. It is a truly wonderful thing when an artist can share themselves and have someone else, with entirely different viewpoints and backgrounds, feels a connection to/with the piece.

What I found to be really interesting was trying to see the movements in the world that Paloma sees. I know I've experienced a similar thought before I read this novel, but after Paloma gave it a shape I began to search it out.

About the ending... did anyone else feel that the pacing was off? I mean I liked the pacing of the book up until we learn about the sister drama and then it was like 'boomboomboom we need an ending! We need an ending! Oh shit, I just realized I'm a Nihilist and I don't want my protagonist to die. What do I do?' It just became very rushed and I felt it was a little sloppy.


message 9: by Dan, deadpan man (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan | 640 comments Mod
There's a movie adaptation of this coming out soon. here's a link to the trailer:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQFTEv...


message 10: by Kerry, flame-haired janeite (last edited Aug 07, 2011 07:32PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kerry Dunn (kerryanndunn) | 886 comments Mod
The film is actually from 2009. I knew it existed way back when I read the book, but it never came to the States...is it coming now???


message 11: by Dan, deadpan man (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan | 640 comments Mod
I guess so, i saw the preview today before seeing Another Earth.


Micha (selective_narcoleptic) | 92 comments I saw this movie a few months ago (wait, it feel like longer - perhaps a year now) and I LOVED the casting for it. There were some things I wished had been more like the book though. I didn't feel like there was as strong a connection to the filmmaker Ozu, for example, which was one of my most favourite aspects of the book.


back to top