The Elegance of the Hedgehog

The Elegance of the Hedgehog Author Muriel Barbery
ISBN-10 1933372605
ISBN-13 9781933372600
Year 2008-09-02
Pages 325
Language English
Publisher Europa Editions
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ANew York TimesBestsellerWe are in an elegant htel particulier in the center of Paris Rene the building s concierge is short ugly and plump She has bunions on her feet She is cantankerous and addicted to television soaps Her only genuine attachment is to her cat Leo In short she is everything society expects from a concierge at a bourgeois building in a posh Parisian neighborhood ButRene has a secret she is a ferocious autodidact who furtively devours art philosophy music and Japanese culture With biting humor she scrutinizes the lives of the building s tenantsher inferiors in every way except that of material wealth Then there s Paloma a super smart twelve year old and the youngest daughter of the Josses who live on the fifth floor Talented precocious and startingly lucid she has come to terms with life s seeming futility and has decided to end her own on the day of 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 subculture a good but not an outstanding student an obedient if obstinate daughter Paloma and Rene hide both their true talents and their finest qualities from a world they suspect cannot or will not appreciate them They discover their kindred souls when a wealthy Japanese man named Ozu arrives in the building Only he is able to gain Paloma s trust and to see through Rene s timeworn disguise to the secret that haunts her This is a moving funny triumphant novel that exalts the quiet victories of the inconspicuous among us

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