The Elegance of the Hedgehog

The Elegance of the Hedgehog

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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

Author: Muriel Barbery
Publisher: Europa Editions
Published: 09/01/2008
Pages: 336
Binding Type: Paperback
Weight: 0.80lbs
Size: 8.10h x 5.20w x 1.10d
ISBN: 9781933372600
Age Range: 18-UP

Accelerated Reader:
Reading Level: 8.1
Point Value: 15
Interest Level: Upper Grade
Quiz #/Name: 169262 / Elegance of the Hedgehog

Award: International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award - Finalist

Review Citation(s):
Publishers Weekly 05/19/2008 pg. 30
Library Journal 06/15/2008 pg. 53
Kirkus Reviews 07/01/2008 pg. 663
Booklist 08/01/2008 pg. 34
New York Times Book Review 09/07/2008 pg. 23
New Yorker (The) 10/20/2008 pg. 93
Newsweek 07/13/2009 pg. 49
Time 07/13/2009 pg. 55
People Weekly 09/14/2009 pg. 67
Commonweal 12/04/2009 pg. 28
People Weekly 04/12/2010 pg. 55

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.