The Elegance of the Hedgehog

by Muriel Barbery | Philosophy |
ISBN: 9781933372600 Global Overview for this book
Registered by elsi of Sanger, Texas USA on 10/31/2008
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2 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by elsi from Sanger, Texas USA on Monday, March 28, 2011
Audio edition -- unabridged on 8 CDs.

From the back of the box:
Renée is short, ugly, and plump. Her only genuine attachment is to her cat, Leo. She is everything society expects from a concierge at a bourgeois building in a posh Parisian neighborhood. But Renée has a secret: she is a ferocious autodidact who furtively devours art, philosophy, music, and Japanese culture. With biting humor she scrutinizes the lives of the building's tenants—her inferiors in every way except that of material wealth.

Then there's Paloma, a super-smart twelve-year-old who lives on the firth floor. Talented, precocious, and startlingly lucid, she has decided to end her own life on the day of her thirteenth birthday. Until then she will continue hiding her extraordinary intelligence behind a mask of mediocrity.

Paloma and Renée discover their kindred souls when a new tenant arrives, a wealthy Japanese man named Ozu. He befriends Paloma and is able to see through Renée's timeworn disguise to the mysterious event that has haunted her since childhood. This is a moving, witty, and redemptive novel that exalts the quiet victories of the inconspicuous among us.

Audiofile's review: "Barbara Rosenblat is the perfect choice to portray this novel's principal character, Renee, the concierge of a Paris apartment building who looks down her nose at the elites she must kowtow to while surreptitiously studying art, philosophy, and music. Avoiding any tone of pretentiousness, Rosenblat breathes a sense of vulnerability and empathy into this character, which comes through vividly with her impeccable timing. Paloma is a 12-year-old living on the fifth floor who is also appalled by what she sees around her and decides to kill herself on her thirteenth birthday. Cassandra Morris so deftly captures this character that you never for a moment doubt that she really is 12. Further, her light touch keeps Paloma's world-weariness from becoming maudlin."

Journal Entry 2 by elsi at Sanger, Texas USA on Saturday, June 4, 2011
An absolutely wonderful book. I loved the fact that the two narrators in the book were performed by two readers. I agree with the Providence Journal whose review noted, "The invaluable Rosenblat, winner of 40 Golden Earphone Awards for superior recordings, invests Renée’s part of the story with the warmth and élan that always characterizes Rosenblat’s work. And Morris, a twenty-something actress who is able to sound uncannily like a 12-year-old, makes Paloma precocious but not bratty, a worthy partner in her half of the book."

There were several scenes that really resonated with me and which I'd like to be able to read again, so I'm seriously considering buying a copy of this for my Kindle so that I can set bookmarks to exactly those passages that I want to re-read.

All-in-all, I'm very glad that I read The Elegance of the Hedgehog in an audio edition. I think my experience was greatly enhanced by listening to it.

Journal Entry 3 by elsi at, A book trading site -- Controlled Releases on Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Released 11 yrs ago (7/5/2011 UTC) at, A book trading site -- Controlled Releases


Mailed to catwoman who took this from the CD Audio VBB at

Journal Entry 4 by Catwoman at Sherwood Park, Alberta Canada on Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Received in the mail today.

Journal Entry 5 by Catwoman at CAPS 2-100 SUB (table by copier) in Edmonton, Alberta Canada on Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Released 10 yrs ago (1/10/2013 UTC) at CAPS 2-100 SUB (table by copier) in Edmonton, Alberta Canada


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