The book is written in brief chapters, alternating between Renee's and Paloma's points of view. I grew to quickly love both characters. The Elegance of the Hedgehog also tells the story of an older, Japanese widower who has moved into a recently vacated apartment. Kakuro Ozu's connection to the disparate female narrators completes the emotional connection both were seeking.
It would be difficult to pronounce this the best book I have ever read, but it is certainly the best one I've read in a long time. The characters tug at your heart, stimulate your mind and capture your attention so well that I was truly sad when the last chapter arrived.
When reading this story, as Muriel Barbery states, "You have found a good hiding place." And isn't all great literature exactly that?