Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Elegance of the Hedgehog

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barberry

Profound Thought #1.
I believe this to be an intelligent story that takes place in a weathly apartment complex in Paris. It is the story of Renee the concierge and Paloma, a rich, suicidal teenager who lives in the building. They are kindred spirits even though they are divided by age, income and class.

Journal of the Movement of the World #1.
This tends to be a book you either love or hate. It appears there is no middle ground. I happened to love this story but one of my friend's hated it so much she couldn't finish it. It was equally similar at my book club meeting with four members attending, three adored the book, one loathed it.

Profound Thought #2.
What I enjoyed most in the story was the themes of Russian literature running through the novel. Renee's cat was named Leo after Tolstoy and Anna Kerenina was referred to frequently as well as other great novels like Gone with the Wind. Yet I feel as though I might have missed some hidden mystery because I haven't read Anna Kerenina yet. This book has inspired me to read more Tolstoy, especially his story on Art (the author referred often to Tolstoy's What is Art? book)and the famous one about Anna. I love books that lead me on new reading adventures.

Journal of the Movement of the World #2.
Wikipedia states "According to Tolstoy, art must create a specific emotional link between artist and audience, one that "infects" the viewer." In my opinion the author does this and that is why this book has become a worldwide bestseller and that a film based on the novel was released in France in July, 2009. It is titled The Hedgehog. I am not sure if the film has been released in the U.S. yet.

Profound Thought #3
The choice is yours. What will your thoughts be about this book?


  1. I loved this book also and a friend found it rambling, I think she found it too literary for her taste. I loved Renee, I suspect we are all at least a little bit like her in that we construct identities behind which we feel safe.

  2. I had issues with this book in the beginning but it really came together in the second half. I feel maybe that was done on purpose, that the beginning reflected the character's attitudes - lost and rambling - but after awhile, when they gained a purpose in life, the story also gained a purpose.

  3. I loved this book-it is a great study of the reading life and the way that stereo types invade our every perception-I really liked your post on it