Book info

The Elegance Of The Hedgehog (2008)

The Elegance of the Hedgehog (2008)
Rating
3.7 of 5 Votes: 5
ISBN
1933372605 (ISBN13: 9781933372600)
languge
English
genre
publisher
Europa Editions
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The Elegance Of The Hedgehog (2008)
The Elegance Of The Hedgehog (2008)

About book: Una donna di cinquantaquattro anni e una ragazzina di dodici. Apparentemente distanti, ma intellettualmente affini. Entrambe alla ricerca di un nascondiglio. L���una dal senso di colpa per un "amore per il sapere", che giudica assurdamente inadatto al suo ruolo sociale. L���altra dalla vacuit�� del mondo che la circonda. Un romanzo a due voci che affascina sin dalle prime pagine��� nonostante le troppo frequenti digressioni filosofiche. Un romanzo che mi ha fatto ridere, riflettere e mi ha commosso. Just as in life, I like characters in books who value intelligence. What I don't like is the two narrators of this book who value their own cleverness above all else; simply put, they are snobs. 12-year old Paloma hates her family and despite her occasionally endearing attempts at nobility, comes across as primarily as self-absorbed. Renée is the concierge (doorlady?) of Paloma's apartment building, a secret auto-didact, who hides her intelligence from the building's tenants. Her knowledge and discernment in art and philosophy do not help her become a likeable character to this reader -- her obsession with class and the scorn with which she sees nearly everyone marks her as bitter, risk-averse prude. Had the novel not progressed at a glacial pace, I would have been able to ignore the negative character traits of our protagonists. Instead, the reader must wade through more than half the novel before anything beyond meandering reflections, and philosophical discussion is replaced, albeit, slowly and gradually, by action. By that time, even the charm of supporting characters (retired Japanese businessman, Ozu, and "aristocratic" Portuguese house cleaner Manuela) cannot change my attitude about the protagonists. I liked when the story actually began, and the story itself is precious in its small way, but Barbery's style kept getting in the way; unkind words were yelled when, yet again, a conversation was interrupted by Renée's endless cogitations; must she go over every possible way of uttering a phrase before muttering a single word instead? No amount of lyrical language, character development, or poignant moments could save this book from its failings. It's quite a popular book from what I understand, but it was clearly not for me.
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Reviews
Bella
Rather boring. Most of the book is "profound thoughts" but the ending is satisfactory.
masoo
I found this book difficult to read but thoroughly enjoyed it. Beautifully written.
san58
Is it possible to enjoy reading a book, but not think it is wonderful?
HanLin
I loved it.
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