The Elegance of the Hedgehog – By Muriel Barbery


The Elegance of the Hedgehog is about the inhabitants of an affluent Parisian apartment building. Its split narrative is from the perspectives of a secretly intelligent and well-read concierge, and a twelve-year-old girl who plans to commit suicide on her thirteenth birthday. They seem to lack passion and happiness, until a new arrival to the building breathes new hope into their lives.

Up to the middle of the book, I had come close to putting it down a few times. It’s pretentious and aloof, and despite proclaiming that its narrators are highly intelligent, it lacks proof of this. It’s unnecessarily wordy and full of itself; every other page seems to have a block of text describing a pretentious thought or feeling on life, which at least to me seemed either obvious, or nonsensical.

Overall, I struggled to find The Elegance of the Hedgehog’s underlying message. Perhaps I was missing something, but it seemed to me that I was meant to have been inspired by its so-called ‘Profound Thoughts’ and ‘Journal of the Movements of the World’. I didn’t find them profound, just tedious to read. However, it is heart-warming, especially as it progresses, and I couldn’t help but enjoy it. I think its sweet, romantic love story is quite irresistible.

You might enjoy this book if you like books that take a shot at being philosophical, although I think it has an absence of substance. It’s a slow, tedious read, but surprisingly rewarding near the end.

My Ratings (out of 10 As):

Plot/Story: AAAA

Writing: AAAAAA

Pace: Slow


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