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The Elegance of the Hedgehog


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About the Author

Muriel Barbery is the author of the New York Times bestseller, The Elegance of the Hedgehog (Europa, 2008), Gourmet Rhapsody (Europa, 2009), and The Life of Elves (Europa, 2016). She has lived in Kyoto, Amsterdam, and Paris, and now lives in the French countryside. Alison Anderson's translations for Europa Editions include novels by Selim Nassib, Amelie Nothomb, and Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt. She is the translator of The Elegance of the Hedgehog (Europa, 2008) and The Life of the Elves (Europa, 2016) by Muriel Barbery.


This late addition to HighBridge Audio's catalog, whose 2006 print edition topped France's best sellers lists, is alternately narrated by a 54-year-old Parisian concierge and a precocious 12-year-old girl residing in the building where he works. Though the novel starts slowly, it eventually transforms into a beautiful love story that quietly takes on classism and the meaning of life in one fell swoop. The readings by Barbara Rosenblat ( and Cassandra Morris (Elsewhere) add life and realism. For fans of the work of Alice Sebold, Pablo Neruda, and Paulo Coelho. [The New York Times best-selling Europa Editions pb was recommended "for public libraries where literature in translation is in demand and for academic libraries to complement their French collections," LJ 6/15/08.-Ed.]-Terry Ann Lawler, Phoenix P.L. Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

This audio version of the surprise French bestseller hits the mark as both performance and story. The leisurely pace of the novel, which explores the upstairs-downstairs goings-on of a posh Parisian apartment building, lends itself well to audio, and those who might have been tempted to skip through the novel's more laborious philosophical passages (the author is a professor of philosophy) will savor these ruminations when read aloud. Tony Award-winning actress Barbara Rosenblat positively embodies the concierge, Renee Michel, who deliberately hides her radiant intelligence from the upper-crust residents of 7 rue de Grenelle, and the performance of Cassandra Morris as the precocious girl who recognizes Renee as a kindred spirit is nothing short of a revelation. Morris's voice, inflection and timbre all conspire to make the performance entirely believable. A Europa paperback. (June) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.


Praise for The Elegance of the Hedgehog "Gently satirical, exceptionally winning and inevitably bitersweet."
--Michael Dirda, The Washington Post "The Elegance of the Hedgehog is about love. But not the sappy, head-over-heels variety. Rather, it's about the love of one's friends. It's about the love you can experience when you connect with strangers. And it's about the possibility--but just that--of romantic love."
--The Huffington Post "Both [of the book's protagonists] create eloquent little essays on time, beauty and the meaning of life, Renee with the erudition and Paloma with adolescent brio."
--The New York Times

"Astute social satire and abstruse German philosophy are rarely found together, but here they are in this ingenious work of fiction."
--The Boston Globe "In this supple novel of ideas, a best-seller in France...two autodidacts share an allergy to grammatical errors (the concierge considers a misplaced comma an 'underhanded attack') and a love of tea and moments of ineffable beauty. Barbery's sly wit, which bestows lightness on the most ponderous cogitations, keeps her tale aloft."
--The New Yorker "This fable of love, frienship and the beauty of art not only gives innocence a voice, but also shows what a powerful novel can do: transport, educate and, ultimately, console."
--The Toronto Star "The Elegance of the Hedgehog
is a high-wire performance."
--Los Angeles Times

"[The Elegance of the Hedgehog tells] a beautiful story with a large cast of fascinating, complicated characters whose behavior is delightfully unpredictable...No idea is too big or small to find a home in the Parisian apartment building where most of the characters live."
--The Wall Street Journal "This dark but redemptive novel, an international bestseller, marks the English debut of Normandy philosophy professor Barbery...By turns very funny (particularly in Paloma's sections) and heartbreaking, Barbery never allows either of her dour narrators to get too cerebral or too sentimental. Her simple plot and sudden denouement add up to a great deal more than the sum of their parts."
--Publishers Weekly "Hedgehog
is really an international book, focused as it is on universal topics of childhood, philosophy, love, and art."
--The Daily Beast "This story, like all great tales, will break your heart, but it will also make you realize--or remember--that sometimes the pain is worth it."
--Chicago Sun-Times

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