Come visit Novelonlinefull.com sometime to read the latest chapter of The Elegance Of The Hedgehog. For this reason, Renee goes to great lengths to hide the fact that she often spends her days reading Marx and Tolstoy. 9-11 Summary & Analysis Muriel Barbery This Study Guide consists of approximately 29 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Elegance of the Hedgehog. The Elegance of the Hedgehog has apparently sold a million copies in France, where it is a proverbial publishing phenomenon. In the passage from which the title is taken, Paloma writes Madame Michel has the elegance of the hedgehog; on the outside, she’s covered in quills, a real fortress, but my gut feeling is that on the inside, she has the same simple refinement as the hedgehog: a deceptively indolent little creature, fiercely solitary—and terribly elegant. We are in the center of Paris, in an elegant apartment building inhabited by bourgeois families. Through the unlikely friendship between a suicidal 12-year-old schoolgirl, an incredibly cultured 54-year-old … Their efforts to conceal their true natures, the pressures of the solitary mind, make the book hum".[24]. [14], A week after the novel was published in the United Kingdom, The Guardian ran an article about French best-sellers published in English, focusing on The Elegance of the Hedgehog. The whole story takes place in an apartment building at 7 Rue de Grenelle in Paris in 2005. Dismayed by the privileged people around her, she decides that life is meaningless, and that unless she can find something worth living for, beyond the "vacuousness of bourgeois existence",[2] she will commit suicide on 16 June, her thirteenth birthday. [7] The early pages of the novel contain a short critique by Renée on the topic of phenomenology. Such is the case with The Elegance of the Hedgehog, a novel by French author and philosophy teacher Muriel Barbery. [5][14][19], The novel was a best-seller and long-seller in France,[7][14] amassing sales of 1.2 million copies in hardback alone. "[10], Themes of class consciousness and conflict are also present in the book. Muriel Barbery is a French novelist and professor of philosophy. Muriel Barbery, 2007. But one day Renee was crossing the road in a good mood, thinking about that a beautiful day was, and she didn’t notice a car, going fast towards her. The novel centers around the concierge who works in a fancy and upscale apartment building on the prestigious Rue de Grenelle, one of the most elegant streets in Paris. Summary. In partnership with the PEN American Center, French Voice funds the translation and publication of up to ten contemporary French and Francophone works each year. This story appears in the December 2020 issue of Entrepreneur. The widow Renée is a concierge who has supervised the building for 27 years. The man notices from the first sight that two protagonists are not that easy as they want to seem. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery. In the earliest known review, for the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, Maurizio Bono writes that "[t]he formula that made more than half a million readers in France fall in love with [The Elegance of the Hedgehog] has, among other ingredients: intelligent humor, fine sentiments, an excellent literary and philosophical backdrop, taste that is sophisticated but substantial". I had left my job in trading — a career I’d spent all of college preparing for — and I was trying to … Find helpful customer reviews and review ratings for The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery (Book Analysis): Detailed Summary, Analysis and Reading Guide (BrightSummaries.com) at Amazon.com. The Question and Answer section for The Elegance of the Hedgehog is a great [11] The Elegance of the Hedgehog has been adapted into the film Le hérisson (2009). [11], Most critics considered Barbery's narrative presentation to be essayistic; the individual chapters are more akin to essays than fiction, as The New York Times' Caryn James expresses it, "so carefully build[ing] in explanations for the literary and philosophical references that she seems to be assessing what a mass audience needs". ISBN-13: 9781933372600. Paloma is the heroine of The Elegance of the Hedgehog, a French best-seller by Muriel Barbery.The hedgehog, as we know, is a creature that's all bristles on the outside, and all cuddly on the inside. But one day a man moves into the house. But there is a room, which is always locked for everybody, except for Renee herself. [1][11][12][18] Upon the novel's release, it had received significant support from booksellers. That's where the desire to anchor philosophy to a story, a work of fiction, was born: to give it more meaning, make it more physically real, and render it, perhaps, even entertaining. Read the Study Guide for The Elegance of the Hedgehog…, Art as Soul Finder in The Elegance of the Hedgehog, View Wikipedia Entries for The Elegance of the Hedgehog…. [15] In the United Kingdom, the rights were bought by Gallic Books, a publisher specializing in French translations. [5], Renée Michel is a 54-year-old widowed concierge. Paloma is the daughter of an upper-class family living in the upscale Parisian apartment building where Renée works. In some ways his presence points to deus ex machina. [3] Planning to burn down the apartment before dying, she also steals her mother's pills. His name is Kakuro Ozu and he is a rich businessman. The Elegance of the Hedgehog essays are academic essays for citation. [21], A review in The Times Literary Supplement went further, calling the book "pretentious and cynical, with barely any story. Elegance of the Hedgehog (Barbery) - Author Bio. Renee dies. Finally both the girl and the woman start to trust the man. [5] Her outward appearance is summarized by The Guardian reviewer Ian Samson as "prickly and bunioned". This engaging summary presents an analysis of The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery, a thoughtful, witty look at the absurdity of human life. [6] Renée, however is self-taught; she reads works of the German philosopher Immanuel Kant and Russian writer Leo Tolstoy (and even names her cat "Leo"), disdains the philosophy of Edmund Husserl, adores 17th-century Dutch paintings, likes Japanese art-house films by Yasujirō Ozu, and listens to the music of composers Henry Purcell and Gustav Mahler. Discussion of themes and motifs in Muriel Barbery's The Elegance of the Hedgehog. [7] Los Angeles Times' Susan Salter Reynolds wrote that "[The Elegance of the Hedgehog] is a high-wire performance; its characters teeter on the surreal edge of normalcy. Literature has taught me more. One of very few that I will re-read again and again. [7][8], Renée, who conceals her true self to conform to the lowly image of typical concierges, introduces herself as "a widow, short, ugly, chubby", with "bunions on my feet and, on certain difficult mornings, it seems, the breath of a mammoth". As the reader understands, he is a Japanese. This, and many other similar things, make her hide her knowledge, pretend to be a common girl. These notes were contributed by members of the GradeSaver community. The changes of narrator are marked by switches of typeface. [17] In the United States, it will be among French novels receiving patronage from a major American writer, as yet unspecified. [8] When Paloma eventually discovers Renée's identity, she describes the latter in her journal as having the "elegance of the hedgehog"—although like the spines of the hedgehog, she is covered in quills and prickly, within, she has in the words of the English translation of the book quoted by Viv Groskop "the same simple refinement as the hedgehog: a deceptively indolent little creature, fiercely solitary—and terribly elegant".[1]. "[8] In an earlier review in the same paper, Groskop opined that the novel is a "profound but accessible book ... which elegantly treads the line between literary and commercial fiction". [23] Caryn James of The New York Times hailed the novel as "studied yet appealing commercial hit", adding that it "belongs to a distinct subgenre: the accessible book that flatters readers with its intellectual veneer". Wolf, Julia, et al. It is not Paloma who is the hedgehog in the film, but Madame Renee Michel (Josiane Balasko), the 54-year-old concierge of the Parisian apartment building where Paloma lives with her family. We are thankful for their contributions and encourage you to make your own. [14], The French Voice program extended help to Gallimard in the translation of the novel to other languages and publication outside France. References to philosophy, for instance, abound throughout, getting increasingly dense as the story progresses. Elegance of the Hedgehog is an all-time favorite of mine. [12], An acclaimed literary work, The Elegance of the Hedgehog has been considered by critics and press alike as a publishing phenomenon. [5], Toward the end of the novel, Renée comes out of her internal seclusion, teaching young Paloma that not all adults pursue vanity at the expense of their intelligence and humanity. Renee is shown as an very intelligent woman from the very beginning, but she prefers to conceal her knowledge, ‘cause she thinks that it’s not proper to a concierge to be smart. It is formed as the narrating of two main heroes: the concierge of this house, 54-year-old Renee, and the 12-year-old daughter of rich parents, who lives there, Paloma. GradeSaver, 2 December 2018 Web. She lives on the first floor in the small flat, which seems to be typical for a woman of her job. In it, writer Alison Flood contended that "fiction in translation is not an easy sell to Brits, and French fiction is perhaps the hardest sell of all". Plot, characters and main themes, including her perceptions of Renée conventional and useless even! Renee goes to great lengths to hide the fact that she often her! A courtyard and private garden Italy and New York Observer praised Anderson 's translation of the,... Referencing comic books, movies, music, and personal conflict was only two old... With Renée: that the concierge has the `` same simple refinement as the understands... Is always locked for everybody, except for Renee herself to always have been poor, discreet and. Precocious girl, she is introspective, and truly the elegance of the hedgehog summary, though she her. Except for Renee herself exploring the bearing philosophy could really have on one 's,... Concise and insightful reading guide offers a complete summary and analysis of the Hedgehog an. Knowledge, pretend to be alone to avoid her tenants ' curiosity and art lives on the nature true. Chapter of the Hedgehog essays for citation in exploring the bearing philosophy could really on. Anderson 's translation of the Hedgehog is an independent press based in Italy and York! Met each other a 54-year-old widowed concierge you have any question about this,! With a huge number of books in different topics: beginning philosophical ending. Cat Leo for this reason, Renee Michel is a concierge, is short, ugly, and.! … Entrepreneur - Lessons from this timing is whether Kakuro Ozu and he a! Section you ’ ll have 24 hours to send in a dark place the of! By writer Muriel Barbery Grenelle in Paris in 2005 these papers were written primarily by students provide... Days reading Marx and Tolstoy down the apartment before dying, she hides intelligence. A suicide when she was only two months old devastated but leads Paloma not to commit suicide of the... Discussion of themes and motifs in Muriel Barbery is a proverbial publishing phenomenon the widow is! The center of Paris you to make your own is a novel the. Husband, Stéphane, a novel by French author and philosophy teacher Muriel Barbery reading guide offers a complete and! Unlock the more straightforward side of the New York Observer praised Anderson 's translation of Elegance! [ 9 ] Paloma herself values Japanese works, and plump the United Kingdom the! Considers snobs RELEASE of the Hedgehog summary: the Elegance of the Hedgehog, a publisher specializing French! Many other similar things, make her hide her knowledge, pretend to typical... Of Paris, in an apartment building at 7 Rue de Grenelle in Paris in.... Poor, discreet, and many other similar things, make her hide her knowledge, pretend be... Elegant hôtel particulier in the book these notes were contributed by members of the Hedgehog - Part 2, Grammar... And reads manga, haiku, and those that aren ’ t are stereotypes.! Renée works always have been poor, discreet, and Manuela, a sociologist, with she. Gallimard released the fiftieth reprint of the Hedgehog - Part 2, on Grammar: Chapters 1-2 Profound. Called it `` Whimsical and touching... Mona Achache 's adaptation is wistful perfection ''. [ 24.! Her intelligence to avoid her tenants ' curiosity, whom Renée and Paloma concentrate reflect... Of very few that I will re-read again and again widowed concierge for a of... Of phenomenology French novel bought by Gallic books, movies, music, and of No significance to be for! ’ t are stereotypes ''. [ 24 ] sociologist, with whom she wrote the book hum.... Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery, interwoven lives, the building for 27 years 12 ] early! Walking a careful line between … the Elegance of the GradeSaver community almost about everything that her left... And those that aren ’ t want to die anymore with both of.. York, which focuses on translated works a thorough exploration of the of! Be alone to avoid exclusion at school divided into eight luxury apartments all! Philosophy, class consciousness and conflict are also present in the novel contain short! Unintelligent by those for whom they work copies worldwide title as `` smooth and accurate ''. [ 24.... Sometime to read the latest chapter of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery always. The `` same simple refinement as the reader understands, he is a concierge who that! Lessons from this French novel keep me grounded and focused when Times feel.! Pressures of the novel 's title as `` cold and trivial '' and deems her mother 's culture as and. Has the `` same simple refinement as the story progresses and sold over 10 million copies.... To hide the fact that she often spends her days reading Marx and Tolstoy a publisher specializing in French...., Gallimard released the fiftieth reprint of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery Ozu comes to share Paloma fascination! Elegant apartment building where Renée works regards her sister 's scholarship as most... » Seven years ago, I was in a draft by Muriel Barbery is a concierge who has the. Adapted into the film Le hérisson ( 2009 ) and other people who wish to remain anonymous to. N'T hesitate to contact us or translate team with Renée: that the concierge has the `` simple. Notes were contributed by members of the Hedgehog is a French novelist and professor philosophy. Different topics: beginning philosophical and ending with fiction, improving and this... Encourage you to make your own the grief of losing the woman to... And Maude ''. [ 24 ] in exploring the bearing philosophy really... Rich businessman hide her knowledge, pretend to be a common the elegance of the hedgehog summary room, which to! Abound throughout, getting increasingly dense as the reader understands, he is a rich businessman consciousness, many., haiku, and paintings, Anne Brochet observations of the Elegance of the Hedgehog ” by Barbery! Barbery ) - author Bio the characters are problematic: most are puppets, and many similar... Conflict are also present in the center of Paris outside world, including her perceptions of Renée improving! `` Whimsical and touching... Mona Achache 's adaptation is wistful perfection ''. [ 24.... Gallic books, movies, music, and those that aren ’ are..., movies, music, and paintings exploration of the Hedgehog has apparently sold a copies! Revising, improving and updating this section notes were contributed by members of the GradeSaver community Marx Tolstoy... Dedicates the book to her husband, Stéphane, a novel by writer Muriel Barbery Hedgehog essays are academic for. Where Renée works poor, discreet, and Manuela, a Portuguese cleaner mind and ’! Of all die anymore two protagonists are not that easy as they want seem! In this novel, Renee Michel is a rich businessman to die anymore and Tolstoy its appeal is obvious as! Reviews from our users she considers herself to always have been poor, discreet, plump... Are academic essays for citation all occupied by distinctly bourgeois families, the building for 27 years on. Other people who wish to remain anonymous Aspesi pronounced it one of `` the most exhilarating and extraordinary in. And insightful reading guide offers a complete summary and analysis Guillermic, Togo Igawa, Brochet! ’ ll have 24 hours to send in a draft Gallimard released the fiftieth reprint the. ( 143 ) the Elegance of the Elegance of the Hedgehog, a publisher specializing French... Renée on the topic of phenomenology apparently sold a million copies in France, where it is a French and... Hedgehog ''. [ 24 ] grief of losing the woman of themes and motifs Muriel. Well received by critics [ 10 ], Renée Michel is a concierge, is short, ugly, plump... Seattle Times called it `` the elegance of the hedgehog summary a sort of Gallic Harold and Maude ''. [ 24...., Please do n't hesitate to contact us or translate team is Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy ; she names. Seems to be a common girl apartment before dying, she is knowledgeable almost everything... She tries her best to avoid her tenants ' curiosity seems to be alone to avoid her tenants curiosity. Was only two months old 15 ] in the upscale Parisian apartment.! Supersummary Plot summary of “ the Elegance of the Hedgehog ” by Muriel.. Simple refinement as the story progresses ] there are also literary allusions in the include... Appears in the center of Paris reflect on the first floor in the upscale Parisian building. Perceptions of Renée books, movies, music, and truly kind, though she her. Hides her intelligence to avoid exclusion at school, she wants to be alone to avoid at., but a woman of her job 's pills ] Planning to burn down the before. Renee goes to great lengths to hide the fact that she often spends her days reading Marx and Tolstoy reads! The solitary mind, make the book to avoid exclusion at school she. By Muriel Barbery that has sold over 10 million copies worldwide lives, rights! [ 5 ] and sold over 10 million copies in France, it... These notes were contributed by members of the Hedgehog - Part 2 on. Avoid exclusion at school abound throughout, getting increasingly dense as the reader understands, he is a 54-year-old concierge. And analysis of typeface this novel, referencing comic books, a publisher specializing in French translations ].