The Elegance of the Hedgehog

Muriel Barbery (Author) Alison Anderson (Translator)
Available

Description

The phenomenal New York Times bestseller that "explores the upstairs-downstairs goings-on of a posh Parisian apartment building" (Publishers Weekly).

In an elegant hôtel particulier in Paris, Renée, the concierge, is all but invisible--short, plump, middle-aged, with bunions on her feet and an addiction to television soaps. Her only genuine attachment is to her cat, Leo. In short, she's everything society expects from a concierge at a bourgeois building in an upscale neighborhood. But Renée has a secret: she furtively, ferociously devours art, philosophy, music, and Japanese culture. With biting humor, she scrutinizes the lives of the tenants--her inferiors in every way except that of material wealth.
Paloma is a twelve-year-old who lives on the fifth floor. Talented and precocious, she's come to terms with life's seeming futility and decided to end her own on her thirteenth birthday. Until then, she will continue hiding her extraordinary intelligence behind a mask of mediocrity, acting the part of an average pre-teen high on pop culture, a good but not outstanding student, an obedient if obstinate daughter.
Paloma and Renée hide their true talents and finest qualities from a world they believe cannot or will not appreciate them. But after a wealthy Japanese man named Ozu arrives in the building, they will begin to recognize each other as kindred souls, in a novel that exalts the quiet victories of the inconspicuous among us, and "teaches philosophical lessons by shrewdly exposing rich secret lives hidden beneath conventional exteriors" (Kirkus Reviews).

"The narrators' kinetic minds and engaging voices (in Alison Anderson's fluent translation) propel us ahead."--The New York Times Book Review

"Barbery's sly wit . . . bestows lightness on the most ponderous cogitations."--The New Yorker

Product Details

Price
$17.00  $15.64
Publisher
Europa Editions
Publish Date
September 01, 2008
Pages
325
Dimensions
5.2 X 1.1 X 8.1 inches | 0.8 pounds
Language
English
Type
Paperback
EAN/UPC
9781933372600
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

Muriel Barbery is the author of the New York Times bestseller, The Elegance of the Hedgehog (Europa, 2008), Gourmet Rhapsody (Europa, 2009), and The Life of Elves (Europa, 2016). She has lived in Kyoto, Amsterdam, and Paris, and now lives in the French countryside.

Reviews

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
INDIEBOUND TOP TEN BESTSELLER
A WASHINGTON POST BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
A CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
A BARNES AND NOBLE BET BOOK OF THE YEAR
A CHICAGO SUN-TIMES FAVORITE BOOK OF THE YEAR

Praise for The Elegance of the Hedgehog

"Gently satirical, exceptionally winning and inevitably bitersweet."
--Michael Dirda, The Washington Post

"The Elegance of the Hedgehog is about love. But not the sappy, head-over-heels variety. Rather, it's about the love of one's friends. It's about the love you can experience when you connect with strangers. And it's about the possibility--but just that--of romantic love."
--The Huffington Post

"Both [of the book's protagonists] create eloquent little essays on time, beauty and the meaning of life, Renée with the erudition and Paloma with adolescent brio."
--The New York Times

"Astute social satire and abstruse German philosophy are rarely found together, but here they are in this ingenious work of fiction."
--The Boston Globe

"In this supple novel of ideas, a best-seller in France...two autodidacts share an allergy to grammatical errors (the concierge considers a misplaced comma an 'underhanded attack') and a love of tea and moments of ineffable beauty. Barbery's sly wit, which bestows lightness on the most ponderous cogitations, keeps her tale aloft."
--The New Yorker

"This fable of love, frienship and the beauty of art not only gives innocence a voice, but also shows what a powerful novel can do: transport, educate and, ultimately, console."
--The Toronto Star

"The Elegance of the Hedgehog is a high-wire performance."
--Los Angeles Times

"[The Elegance of the Hedgehog tells] a beautiful story with a large cast of fascinating, complicated characters whose behavior is delightfully unpredictable...No idea is too big or small to find a home in the Parisian apartment building where most of the characters live."
--The Wall Street Journal

"This dark but redemptive novel, an international bestseller, marks the English debut of Normandy philosophy professor Barbery...By turns very funny (particularly in Paloma's sections) and heartbreaking, Barbery never allows either of her dour narrators to get too cerebral or too sentimental. Her simple plot and sudden denouement add up to a great deal more than the sum of their parts."
--Publishers Weekly

"Hedgehog is really an international book, focused as it is on universal topics of childhood, philosophy, love, and art."
--The Daily Beast

"This story, like all great tales, will break your heart, but it will also make you realize--or remember--that sometimes the pain is worth it."
--Chicago Sun-Times