The Elegance of the Hedgehog
The international bestseller that has sold over 10 million copies worldwide. The Elegance of the Hedgehog is a moving, funny, atmospheric novel that exalts the quiet victories of the inconspicuous among us. We are in an elegant hôtel particulier in the center of Paris. Renée, the building's concierge, is short, ugly, and plump. She has bunions on her feet. She is cantankerous and addicted to television soaps. Her only genuine attachment is to her cat, Leo. In short, 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 and the youngest daughter of the Josses, who live on the fifth floor. Talented, precocious, and startingly lucid, she has come to terms with life's seeming futility and has decided to end her own on the day of her thirteenth birthday. Until then she will continue hiding her extraordinary intelligence behind a mask of mediocrity, acting the part of an average pre-teen high on pop 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.
aThe formula that made more than half a million readers in France fall in love with this book has, among other ingredients: intelligent humor, fine sentiments, an excellent literary and philosophical backdrop, good taste, sophistication and substance. "La Repubblica" Enthusiastically recommended for anyone who loves books that grow quietly and then blossom suddenly. "Marie Claire" (France) An exquisite book in the form of a philosophical fable that has enchanted hundreds of thousands of readers. "Elle" (Italy) aNobody ever imagined that this tender, funny book with a philosophical vein would have enjoyed such incredible success. For some, it is part "Sophieas World" by Jostein Gaarder, part "Monsieur Malaussene" by Daniel Pennac. While for others it resembles a written version of the film Amelie. Either way, readers are responding in vast numbers. "Le Monde"
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