The Elegance of the Hedgehog

by Muriel Barbery | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 1906040184 Global Overview for this book
Registered by MMMaartje of Ijsselstein, Utrecht Netherlands on 9/18/2016
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2 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by MMMaartje from Ijsselstein, Utrecht Netherlands on Sunday, September 18, 2016
We are in the center of Paris, in an elegant apartment building inhabited by bourgeois families. Renée, the concierge, is witness to the lavish but vacuous lives of her numerous employers. Outwardly she conforms to every stereotype of the concierge: fat, cantankerous, addicted to television. Yet, unbeknownst to her employers, Renée is a cultured autodidact who adores art, philosophy, music, and Japanese culture. With humor and intelligence she scrutinizes the lives of the building's tenants, who for their part are barely aware of her existence.
Then there's Paloma, a twelve-year-old genius. She is the daughter of a tedious parliamentarian, a talented and startlingly lucid child who has decided to end her life on the sixteenth of June, her thirteenth birthday. Until then she will continue behaving as everyone expects her to behave: a mediocre pre-teen high on adolescent subculture, a good but not an outstanding student, an obedient if obstinate daughter.

Paloma and Renée hide both their true talents and their finest qualities from a world they suspect cannot or will not appreciate them. They discover their kindred souls when a wealthy Japanese man named Ozu arrives in the building. Only he is able to gain Paloma's trust and to see through Renée's timeworn disguise to the secret that haunts her. This is a moving, funny, triumphant novel that exalts the quiet victories of the inconspicuous among us.

Journal Entry 2 by MMMaartje at BC Meeting 2017 in Castricum, Noord-Holland Netherlands on Saturday, July 01, 2017

Released 1 yr ago (7/2/2017 UTC) at BC Meeting 2017 in Castricum, Noord-Holland Netherlands


If you have found this book, congratulations! You have gained a book AND made my day by coming to the site and checking out what it's all about.

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You are of course welcome to keep the book you found, but it would be even better if you read it and then pass it on to someone else, or leave it somewhere, so it can continue on its travels. Either way, enjoy the book!


Als je dit boek gevonden hebt, gefeliciteerd! Je hebt er een nieuw boek bij, EN je maakt mij blij door je bezoekje aan!

Je kunt het boek melden, zodat ik weet dat het boek gevonden is. Je kunt dit anoniem doen, maar je kunt ook (gratis) lid worden van Als je dat doet kun je zelf het boek ook volgen nadat jij het weer hebt vrijgelaten. Als je besluit lid te worden, zou het super zijn als je mijn naam (Tizzalicious) invult in het "verwezen door" vakje. Dank je!

Je mag het boek natuurlijk zelf houden, maar het zou helemaal geweldig zijn als je het nadat je het hebt gelezen aan iemand anders geeft, of het ergens achter laat, zodat het zijn reis kan vervolgen. Wat je ook besluit: Heel veel plezier met je nieuwe boek!

Journal Entry 3 by wingvioloncellixwing at on Sunday, July 02, 2017
Gevonden op de boekentafel bij de jaarlijkse meeting in Castricum. Ik ben benieuwd en veel dank!

Journal Entry 4 by wingvioloncellixwing at Groningen, Groningen Netherlands on Thursday, September 06, 2018
I really enjoyed reading this book last week, somewhat unexpectedly (I have a bit of a prejudice against very popular books).

Here are some quotes.

From the 12 year old Paloma's diary about the protagonist, concierge Madame Michel:

Madame Michel has the elegance of the hedgehog: on the outside she is covered in quills, a real fortress, but my gut feeling is that on the inside, she has the same simple refinement as the hedgehog: a deceptively indolent little creature, fiercely solitary--and terrible elegant.

And here is Madame Michel herself:
I have read so many books. And yet, like most Autodidacts, I am never quite sure of what I have gained from them. There are days when I feel I have been able to grasp all there is to know in one single gaze, as if invisible branches suddenly spring out of no where, weaving together all the disparate strands of my reading. And then suddenly the meaning escapes, the essence evaporates and no matter how often I reread the same lines they seem to flee ever further with each subsequent reading and I see myself as some mad old fool who thinks her stomach is full because she's been reading the menu.

Journal Entry 5 by wingvioloncellixwing at Vredenburg in Utrecht, Utrecht Netherlands on Thursday, September 06, 2018

Released 7 mos ago (9/6/2018 UTC) at Vredenburg in Utrecht, Utrecht Netherlands


This book will be released near the new mosaic on the Vredenburg square in Utrecht, which also has "the elegance of the hedgehog".

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