The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery

hedgehogIn July, I participated in Rebecca and Allison’s book club for the second time. The book we read was The Elegance of the Hedgehog.  We read and discussed the book over the course of the month and although I missed out on week 2 I quickly caught up, because it was easy to do so. Why? The book was interesting and I think that I will have to read it a second time to appreciate it even more!

The story is being narrated by two people.  First we have Renée who is a concierge. She admires Tolstoy (even names her cat “Leo”) and regardless of her job description, this woman is fairly intelligent. She criticizes her employers and tries to hide her true self from them. They belief she is dumb, but then she meets the new resident who sees through her. Soon she develops a blossoming friendship with him, as well as with the second narrator, Paloma.  Paloma is a 12 year old girl, daughter of one of the residents who believes life is meaningless and plans to commit suicide.  She decides that she will actively seek a reason for not having to do so, but until then she will act normal. In her diaries she shares her “profound thoughts” and I think this part of the novel I enjoyed most. Soon she became my favourite character in the book as I enjoyed reading her thoughts. She is such an insightful young lady, and what added to the mystery of Paloma was that her name only gets revealed later in the book.  She also becomes friends with Renée – and I loved that!

I don’t feel the need to elaborate further; you can just go and read more about our thoughts and opinions on the book in the discussion posts.  I think this is a nice read and I would totally recommend it.

Image source

Have you read this book? What did you think of it?