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Elegant als een egel by Muriel Barbery

Elegant als een egel (original 2006; edition 2010)

by Muriel Barbery

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
11,271633522 (3.79)2 / 922
The lives of fifty-four-year-old concierge Rene Michel and extremely bright, suicidal twelve-year-old Paloma Josse are transformed by the arrival of a new tenant, Kakuro Ozu.
Title:Elegant als een egel
Authors:Muriel Barbery
Info:oorspr. titel: L'élégance du hérisson
Collections:my collection of cat books, Your library, cat(s), Currently reading
Tags:cat cats philosophy

Work Information

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery (2006)

  1. 161
    The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa (labfs39, chrisharpe)
    labfs39: Both have incredibly well-drawn, quirky characters that are lovable in their unique humaness. Both have highly intelligent characters that are vulnerable because of their very gift. In both books I learned things in fields not particularly close to me: math in Housekeeper and philosophy in Elegance.… (more)
  2. 30
    A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cossé (morsecode)
    morsecode: The English-language editions (published by Europa Editions) of both novels are translated by Alison Andersen. There isn't a lot of similarity between the two novels (beyond the fact that both are quite literary), but I do think that someone who enjoys one will enjoy the other.… (more)
  3. 20
    Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl (krist_ellis, tinyteaspoon)
    tinyteaspoon: Strong young female protagonist
  4. 64
    The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley (lauranav)
    lauranav: Both show relationships and point of view of a young girl.
  5. 10
    Seven Fires of Mademoiselle by Esther Vilar (sanddancer)
  6. 10
    The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet by Reif Larsen (heterotopic)
  7. 54
    Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson (cransell)
  8. 10
    The Last Samurai by Helen DeWitt (camillahoel)
  9. 00
    Margherita Dolce Vita by Stefano Benni (Nickelini)
  10. 00
    The Girl from the Chartreuse by Pierre Péju (bluepiano)
    bluepiano: Both are modern French novels written by philosophy teachers, both protagonists are awkward and isolated, both authors mask their sentimentality with a calm tone and both remind us that pedestrians should look both ways before crossing a road.
  11. 00
    A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles (rocks009)
  12. 00
    The Death of the Author by Roland Barthes (bluepiano)
    bluepiano: Of no earthly relevance to the Barbery except that the death of the author is the death chosen by the other author. Comment dit-on 'Look both ways before you cross' en français?
  13. 00
    Lovesong by Alex Miller (jll1976)
    jll1976: There is the obvious 'Paris connection'. But, also a similar slow almost dreamlike quality. About the beauty of a 'simple' life.
  14. 00
    The Cleaner of Chartres by Salley Vickers (klerulo)
    klerulo: Not so much the commonality of a French setting but that of a very enigmatic, obscure heroine who attracts the attention of others who are discerning and sensitive enough to perceive the hidden depths.
  15. 01
    Chocolat by Joanne Harris (hildretha)
  16. 26
    Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami (tandah)
  17. 18
    The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco (albavirtual)
    albavirtual: Una historia oscura e intrigante y, al mismo tiempo, llena de profundas reflexiones sobre la risa, el arte y la libertad del hombre.

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» See also 922 mentions

English (517)  Spanish (32)  Italian (26)  French (25)  German (9)  Finnish (7)  Swedish (5)  Catalan (5)  Dutch (5)  Portuguese (Brazil) (2)  Norwegian (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (635)
Showing 1-5 of 517 (next | show all)
I liked that the story was told from two perspectives, especially considering that one heroine is 50 years old and the other - only 12. Still, their views were quite similar at times. For me this novel is about ruining social stereotypes, focusing firstly on those in our minds. It's also a story about the true friendship that comes not from being on the same stage in society but from the same way of thinking. The ending was a bit sad for me, but maybe it was a way for the author to say that life is too short to wait for some better time to act, and one needs to start doing something right now. ( )
  Diana_Hryniuk | Mar 22, 2023 |
I almost gave up on this book several times during the first half. I rarely give up on a book, preferring to plow on to the end. When Mr. Kakuro Ozu was introduced the book became so much more interesting. The ending was so very unsatisfying for me. The Elegance of the Hedgehog is a well written book with interesting characters but the story just did not turn out to my liking. ( )
  lynnbyrdcpa | Feb 18, 2023 |
The book centers on an interesting pair of highly judgemental narrators. It begins slowly, with the somewhat unlikeable and pretentious duo but becomes more engaging as one gets to know them and their environment. When they each begin to find glimpses of happiness, it is impossible not to feel some relief on their behalf.

I enjoyed it, but I feel it is a bit over-rated. It suffers somewhat with its magical foreigner, an unrealistically accelerated relationship, and a painfully abrupt. Still, I looked forward to reading it and following the characters, and enjoyed it each time I opened it up--perhaps even lingering on benches a bit longer than I should have, just to squeeze in a little more.

This is especially recommended for anyone who enjoyed Sophie's World in their younger days. ( )
  axehandle | Jan 11, 2023 |
  archivomorero | Dec 15, 2022 |
To begin the review, I have to paint a small picture. On Friday, my dad and I went to the bookstore. Often times, I will pull books that I think he will like, but every so often he recommends one for me. Please note he is an college English professor, so when it comes to books, he is the expert although I tend to read more within the year, so it is a good balance.

We happened to be standing in the aisle when my dad looks at the shelf and asks if I have read this one- The Elegance of the Hedgehog? We often hear the phrase, "you shouldn't judge a book by its cover," but I was completely judging a book by its cover. It looks like a kids book along the lines of Harriet the Spy or a similar title. I looked at my dad perplexed because I know he really dislikes movies and books where children are the center, so you can imagine my confusion. I picked it up anyway and said I would read it over the weekend. I didn't start it until Sunday night and proceeded to tear through the book because I simply loved it!

This is not a kids book, nor is a child the center of the book, but a girl does narrate interludes within the main story. The main story though is about Renee, who is a 50 year old widow who works as a concierge at a swanky French hotel. She has a secret though. She is an autodidactic genius. She has a profound love of books, art, and music and really knows about them, but to the larger world she is just a concierge and she likes it that way.

She is quite content living this way until a Japanese man moves into her building. He happens to have the same last name as her favorite director and has two cats named for characters in her favorite book. He also happens to see through her false image to the world and sees Renee's true self. Thus starts their relationship.

Within the book Palmona, a 12 year old who is also incredibly intelligent, narrates her observations about the world and about the relationship with Renee. She is almost a Greek chorus of sorts.

There are two things you should know about this book before starting it- 1. You may need a dictionary while reading it. It does not cut corners with words and the main character is a genius, so be prepared. 2. Once you get over the language, you will be presented with some sentences and insights that will blow your socks off! I think some of my Facebook friends may have turned off my updates because as I was reading the book, I kept uploading pictures of whole paragraphs or sentence quotes. This book is beautifully written with a difficult vocabulary curve.

I should add one more item to my two item list making it a three item list, it is very French. My dad warned me before reading this and I said a joke to him that turned out not only to be true, but was pretty typical within French lit. I won't repeat the joke because it is a major spoiler, but beware. That is not a slam against French lit, but it does follow a certain pattern that drives me crazy every now and again.

I cannot write how much I loved this book, but I also realize this book is for a certain audience. Not everyone will love this as it does get a little snooty at times. There are certain judgments stated and Renee has a certain standard for people she will let into her life. She can be an off putting and sometimes unlikable character to some. I can understand why certain individuals may not get this book. As stated, I was raised with an college English professor, so Renee would fit into my family's world.

I gave this one 5 stars. I simply loved it. ( )
  Nerdyrev1 | Nov 23, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 517 (next | show all)
Barbery’s sly wit, which bestows lightness on the most ponderous cogitations, keeps her tale aloft.
added by Nickelini | editthe New Yorker (Oct 20, 2008)
Le Figaro has described this book as 'the publishing phenomenon of the decade'. Elsewhere, there were comparisons to Proust. It sold more than a million copies in France last year and has won numerous awards. Does it match up to the hype? Almost. It is a profound but accessible book (not quite Proust, then), which elegantly treads the line between literary and commercial fiction.
added by Nickelini | editThe Guardian, Vicky Groskop (Sep 14, 2008)
Even when the novel is most essayistic, the narrators’ kinetic minds and engaging voices... propel us ahead.
Efter en något trög första del, förvandlades Igelkottens elegans till en liten pärla, till en bok som berörde mig. Och jag som sällan läser om böcker, funderar skarpt på att läsa om.
Därefter blir ”Igelkottens elegans” en fråga om ett ganska enkelt demaskerande och en ännu enklare trivialpsykologisk analys. Men fram till dess skrockar man förnöjt när Renée och Paloma var och en på sitt håll övertrumfar varandra i knivskarpa beskrivningar av den korkade och obildade parisiska överklassen och dess själsliv – tunt som en kålsoppa utan kål.

» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Barbery, Murielprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Öjerskog, MarianneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Anderson, AlisonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Andersson, KerstinNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Balžalorsky, VarjaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bonaiuto, AnnaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Borger, EduTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Caillat, EmmanuelleTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cardoso, ElisaCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Christov, PetrTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Company Gimeno, SalvadorTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Enqvist, HelénTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ergüden, IşıkTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
陳春琴Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Farkas, KikoCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Freire d'Aguiar, RosaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
González-Gallarza, IsabelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Κολαΐτη, ΡίταTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jensen, Kjell OlavTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Koff, IndrekTÕlkijasecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kokkin, JanneMedarb.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Krüger, ThomasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lindblad, SiljeReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Meilahti, Sanna-ReetaCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mikkin, DanKujundajasecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Morris, CassandraNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Poli, CinziaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Provily, PhilipCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ragnisco, EmanueleDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rohrwacher, AlbaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rosenblat, BarbaraNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Saar, AntiToimetajasecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tótfalusi, ÁgnesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thalbach, AnnaSprechersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thalbach, KatharinaSprechersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Torcal García, AnnaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Viitanen, Anna-Maija(KÄÄnt.)secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Waals, Tessa van derCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zehnder, GabrielaÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zorec, MetkaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Stephane, with whom I wrote this book
A Stéphane, con quien he escrito este libro.
First words
"Marx has completely changed the way I view the world," declared the Pallieres boy this morning, although ordinarily he says nary a word to me.
Thus, the television in the front room, guardian of my clandestine activities, could bleat away and I was no longer forced to listen to inane nonsense fit for the brain of a clam - I was in the back room, perfectly euphoric, my eyes filling with tears, in the miraculous presence of Art.
In the heat of the cinema, on the verge of tears, happier than I had ever been, I was holding the faint warmth of his hand for the first time in months. I knew that an unexpected surge of energy had roused him from his bed, given him the strength to get dressed and the urge to go out, the desire for us to share a conjugal pleasure one more time - and I knew, too, that this was the sign that there was not much time left, a state of grace before the end. But that did not matter to me, I just wanted to make the most of it, of these moments stolen from the burden of illness, moments with his warm hand in mine and a shudder of pleasure going through both of us...'
I flinched when she said bring and at that very moment Monsieur Something also flinched, and our eyes met. And since that infinitesimal nanosecond when - of this I am sure - we were joined in linguistic solidarity by the shared pain that made our bodies shudder, Monsieur Something has been observing me with a very different gaze.
A watchful gaze.
And now he is speaking to me.
What is the purpose of Art? To give us the brief, dazzling illusion of the camellia; to carve from time an emotional aperture that cannot be reduced to animal logic. How is Art born? It is begotten in the mind's ability to sculpt the sensorial domain. What does Art do for us? It gives shape to our emotions, makes them visible and, in so doing, places a seal of eternity upon them, a seal representing all those works that, by means of a particular form, have incarnated the universal nature of human emotions.
... αναλογίζομαι τελικά ότι ίσως αυτό να είναι η ζωή: πολλή απελπισία, αλλά και μερικές στιγμές ομορφιάς, στις οποίες ο χρόνος δεν είναι πια ο ίδιος. Λες και οι νότες της μουσικής έβαλαν μια παρένθεση στον χρόνο, μια αναστολή, ένα αλλού ακόμη και εδώ, ένα πάντα μέσα στο ποτέ.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

The lives of fifty-four-year-old concierge Rene Michel and extremely bright, suicidal twelve-year-old Paloma Josse are transformed by the arrival of a new tenant, Kakuro Ozu.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Renee is the concierge of a grand Parisian apartment building, home to members of the great and the good. Over the years she has maintained her carefully constructed persona as someone reliable but totally uncultivated, in keeping, she feels, with society s expectations of what a concierge should be. But beneath this façade lies the real Renée: passionate about culture and the arts, and more knowledgeable in many ways than her employers with their outwardly successful but emotionally void lives. Down in her lodge, apart from weekly visits by her one friend Manuela, Renée lives resigned to her lonely lot with only her cat for company. Meanwhile, several floors up, twelve-year-old Paloma Josse is determined to avoid the pampered and vacuous future laid out for her, and decides to end her life on her thirteenth birthday. But unknown to them both, the sudden death of one of their privileged neighbours will dramatically alter their lives forever.
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