The Elegance of the Hedgehog

Against all my expectations, I loved this book and could not put it down.  Generally, I’ve stayed away from translated books (I really did not like Flaubert), and this book reads as a series of journal entries mostly on philosophical and art musings by two solitary characters.  The plot is simple, and the characters are lonely and depressed and brilliant.  I thought Renee made life difficult for herself by trying so hard to appear as a traditional concierge and I thought that Paloma was too intelligent for her own good.  But when the characters were established and the plot began to move along (about halfway through the book), their entries became exciting and very moving.  Relationships and change breathe life back into the characters and break them out of their patterns of thought.  I found the story very beautiful in the end, and am curious to see what Muriel’s other book is all about.

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