The Elegance of the Hedgehog (Prebound)

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The Elegance of the Hedgehog Cover Image
By Muriel Barbery, Alison Anderson (Translator)
$26.95
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Summer 2019 Reading Group Indie Next List


“This book contains two Japanophiles, one sarcastic French tween, and zero actual hedgehogs. It’s exactly the sort of warm, funny cosmopolitan novel I pore through the back gondolas of used bookstores looking for. The tension between Paloma and her wealthy parents, and the secret Renee the building concierge is hiding, are as relevant to today’s class struggles as when the book was written. Suicide is a tragedy; the silver lining is that we have literature to help us cope.”
— Holly Doering, Auntie's Bookstore, Spokane, WA

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 h tel particulier in Paris, Ren e, 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 Ren e 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 Ren e 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

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.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780606368032
ISBN-10: 0606368035
Publisher: Turtleback Books
Publication Date: September 1st, 2008
Pages: 336
Language: English