An enchanting New York Times and international bestseller about life, art, literature, philosophy, culture, class, privilege, and power, seen through the eyes of a 54-year old French concierge and a precocious but troubled 12-year-old girl.
Renée Michel is the 54-year-old concierge of a luxury Paris apartment building. Her exterior (“short, ugly, and plump”) and demeanor (“poor, discreet, and insignificant”) belie her keen, questing mind and profound erudition. Paloma Josse is a 12-year-old genius who behaves as everyone expects her to behave: a mediocre pre-teen high on adolescent subculture, a good but not outstanding student, an obedient if obstinate daughter. She plans to kill herself on the sixteenth of June, her thirteenth birthday.
Both Renée and Paloma hide their true talents and finest qualities from the bourgeois families around them, until a wealthy Japanese gentleman named Ozu moves into building. Only he sees through them, perceiving the secret that haunts Renée, winning Paloma's trust, and helping the two discover their kindred souls. Moving, funny, tender, and triumphant, Barbery's novel exalts the quiet victories of the inconspicuous among us.
Customer ReviewsSee All
this book is incredible
if you're accustomed to and prefer simple reads, this book is definitely not for you. if you like to be challenged, intrigued and entertained in new ways, you'll love this book. i'm envious and in love with the writing style. the story was dark and beautiful. you may need to have a dictionary handy! what a wonderful way to expand your vocabulary, though! such a magnificent book.
Such a wonderful story
I so thoroughly enjoyed this book, the characters are endearing and the narration was spellbinding, so glad I found it! I would recommend this book to everyone, you won't be disappointed.
Depends what sort of book you like...
If philosophical ramblings aren't your thing, this isn't your book. However, if you've ever been put down for being intellectual, if you've ever wondered whether you're different from other people, if you spend your time thinking about deep thoughts or if you want a deep look into beauty and art, read this book. Yes, there isn't much "action," but that's because so much goes on inside these characters' heads. Personally this is a book I find extremely quotable and relatable, if bittersweet.