Wednesday, August 6, 2014

     Another detour on my summer memoir path is this gem of a book, The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery.   Translated from the French by Europa Editions, Ms. Barbery tells the story of the residents of an elegant apartment building in Paris from the viewpoint of Renee, the building's concierge and Paloma, a sad but brilliant twelve year old tenant.
     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?

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