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.
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Individuals with grace among the unctous and vain...
It took the first two chapters or so to get deeply interested in the characters, and to understand that (as ususal) things aren't always what they seem. This is a thought provocating story with a listener's ear to those that feel stuck among insincere and vain people... and a good reminder that there are those out there that do care.
I wish I could get my money back
This book is terrible and the characters not likable. Don't waste your money. I downloaded this book hoping for a wonderful story set in Paris. What it is though is a whiny story that drones on and is bland. It rambles . The girl is an ungrateful brat and the older woman, perpetuates the social steriotypes she drones on about. In the end, it's an over simplified look at social classes and social divides. If you're looking for a good read/listen in this genre, look at "The Help" or "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" or "Sarah's Key". Skip this one and save your money!!
So so so so so so so INCREDIBLE
don't have any doubts as to buying this book. It's one of my absolute favorite. The Elegance of the Hedgehog is funny, beautiful, and bittersweet. As cheesy as this sounds, it forced me to question whether life has any meaning at all, and made me think about the decisions i've made. This book is completely loaded, and if you want somthing deep and enthralling to read, try it! The characters are really poetic and beautiful, each in their own way. This book questions the definition of beauty, intelligence, and culture.