The Elegance of the Hedgehog

The Elegance of the Hedgehog

Book - 2008
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"An exquisite book in the form of a philosophical fable that has enchanted hundreds of thousands of readers."-Elle (Italy)
Publisher: New York Europa Editions Inc 2008.
ISBN: 9781933372600
Branch Call Number: FICTION Barbery Muriel
Characteristics: 325 p. ;,21 cm.
Alternative Title: L'élégance du hérisson.


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List - Oak Park Book Club 2015
JCLMeganC Oct 30, 2014


List - My Ideal Bookshelf
JCLChrisF Jan 16, 2014

The story of a friendship of two unlikely, independent souls beautifully written.

Dowdy concierge at 7 Rue de Grenelle, Renee is a secret autodidact who eventually is discovered by suicidal Paloma, the twelve-year-old daughter of a priveleged family who live upstairs. This was the top-selling book in France in 2007.

Meeting date: October 23, 2012

From the critics

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Feb 15, 2021

Lovely book with beautiful writing and interesting characters + interactions. Found it nice to put down and come back to but definitely had it in my mind throughout the time I was reading it. Even know, I feel the characters stay with me and it comes to mind quite often a few weeks after the fact. Apparently, there is a movie which I would love to see at some point.

Oct 31, 2020

Gonna take a pass on this one at least for now! At 37 pages in I came back to look at the reviews and see that many who went further were of the same opinion. Maybe at a later date it will fit my mood and I'll be looking for a book like this one.

Sep 29, 2020

Elegance of the Hedgehog is an all-time favorite of mine. Complex characters, interwoven lives, the creativity and compassion abound in this lovely French novel. One of very few that I will re-read again and again. Literary fiction at its best.

Mar 13, 2020

I bought a copy of this book when I was in high school, but never really read it because it was a bit too sophisticated for me. Now as a young professional, I was able to access this book more, although some of the references were beyond my knowledge (and interest) base. But, in a story of two erudite individuals, it made sense that the characters were not relatable in that regard. The story was very fascinating and unique! If you move beyond the intense references and intelligence gap, you will find a nice story within!

Jan 26, 2020

This book had been on my TO READ list forever and I was anxious to finally start it. What a huge disappointment to find that it doesn't seem to be a "real" story; just a bunch of short entries that frankly are either boring or don't make sense. Maybe it's me, maybe something was lost in translation but I didn't get too far into it before I decided that I have a lot more books to read on my very long list.

FPL_ThomasF Dec 05, 2019

The first few pages will give your brain a workout (stick with it, you can do it!) but move through them to discover a wonderful book about a precocious girl with family issues searching for the meaning of life with an older mentor who is outwardly very simple but has an inner life propelled by art and literature.

Sep 14, 2019

I loved the book - probably because I could identify with the smart woman who had to hid her smarts to survive I would haave wished for a happier ending tho

Jun 01, 2019

Pretentious drivel. Worse, pretentious drivel where the author creates situations where not one but two protagonists get to complain endlessly, repetitively, mind-numbingly-boringly about everything and everyone around them. I regret finishing this book (though admit to skimming large chunks) as this is time in my life I can never get back. I will never read anything by this author again.

Oct 31, 2018

Beautifully written lyrical book.
Exploring concepts of who we really are vs who we pretend to be and why.
I loved every moment until the final chapter which was heartbreaking.

Jun 11, 2018

The book is full of (philosophy, literature, pop culture... beauty, art, time, death...class, wealth vs poverty) lofty subjects, crammed into the heads of two pathological geniuses, their erudite narrations alternate, failed to entertain me, no matter what perspective I endeavor. A satire? A reference read for school project? A pseudo Proustian, nice try?
I found some pearls - adage, metaphor, axiom, but couldn't thread these into a necklace.
Since the book dedicates one chapter on Consonance (art), there may be consonance of a single thought and a simple abstract expression here and there, but the whole book lack consonance.
Aristocracy of the heart, what an incongruent claim Rene has. Does author want to ridicule the heroine with what she intend to disdain or elude to value?

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Feb 07, 2013

"They didn't recognize me," I say.
I come to a halt in the middle of the sidewalk, completely flabbergasted.
"They didn't recognize me," I repeat.
He stops in turn, my hand still on his arm.
"It is because they have never seen you," he says. "I would recognize you anywhere."

Jul 27, 2011

[C]athedrals have always aroused in me the sensation of extreme light-headedness one often feels in the presence of man-made tributes to the glory of something that does not exist … [and] tested to the extreme my ability to believe that so much intelligence could have gone to serve so futile an undertaking.

Nov 15, 2010

That's just great; something like this would happen right before I die. Twelve and a half years in a cultural desert and right when it's time to go and pack it in a Japanese gentleman arrives . . . it really is too unfair.


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