Saturday, February 22, 2014

January Book Club: The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery

Renee has spent her life trying to be what everyone expects her to be. She is the stereotypical Paris concierge with her abrupt and coarse-ish manners, constant blaring of the television, and blank expression... at least on the outside. Inside she lives a rich life of philosophical ponderings, reading, and enjoying Japanese cinema. Other than her best friend, no one knows the real her and she's worked hard to keep it that way.
In her building lives the twelve year old genius, Paloma. A girl with a brilliant mind, but a child's longing for connection and purpose, Paloma has determined to kill herself and burn down her family's apartment on her thirteenth birthday unless she can find something in the world that would make her continued existence worthwhile.
Enter the Japanese gentleman Ozu who connects with both Renee and Paloma, sees through their facades, and brings them together in unusual ways ensuring that all of their lives will never be the same.

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Rebecca T: I enjoyed the overall story. I fell in love with Paloma's voice and I wanted so much more of her. I really liked the conversations between Ozu and Renee. However, I did feel that the translation did not do this book justice. I listened to it on audio and I think that this really helped. If a new translation of this was produced I would probably read it again as I felt like I missed a lot from some of the density of the language. The story was really enjoyable and the characters were wonderful.

For February we are reading Ransom Riggs' second book Hollow City so read along and check back next month for our reviews!

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