May 23, 2011

The Elegance of the Hedgehog


Yesterday I finished one of the best books, I have read this year (and I have read quite a few by now), so I guess it's time for another recommendation.
Even though this book has got a lot of negative ratings on Goodreads, I had a good feeling about this book, even before I started reading it. Probably because of the pretty cover and the title (and the fact that it takes place in Paris and there's a Japanese in it too - it almost can't get any better if you have a weakness for France and Japan). 
And I must say, that it really did live up to my expectations. It made me both laugh out loud and cry and I enjoyed every page of this book. It's the kind of book where you get the feeling that you know the characters and don't want it to end, because you know you'll miss them (am I the only one who get this feeling?). Though the last few chapters are quite tragic it's a really good book, highly recommendable!

The book is also made into a film, Le Hérisson (or The Hedgehog). Another addition to the constantly growing list of must-see films! Seriously, I have to watch movies more often with all those movies I want to see.

I'm not able to describe the main characters better than they're described on Goodreads, so you'll get the description from there:
"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."
(from Goodreads)


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