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Starred Review. 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, Renée 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 Renée 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)
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In a bourgeois apartment building in Paris, we encounter Renée, an intelligent, philosophical, and cultured concierge who masks herself as the stereotypical uneducated “super” to avoid suspicion from the building’s pretentious inhabitants. Also living in the building is Paloma, the adolescent daughter of a parliamentarian, who has decided to commit suicide on her thirteenth birthday because she cannot bear to live among the rich. Although they are passing strangers, it is through Renée’s observations and Paloma’s journal entries that The Elegance of the Hedgehog reveals the absurd lives of the wealthy. That is until a Japanese businessman moves into the building and brings the two characters together. A critical success in France, the novel may strike a different chord with some readers in the U.S. The plot thins at moments and is supplanted with philosophical discourse on culture, the ruling class, and the injustices done to the poor, leaving the reader enlightened on Kant but disappointed with the story at hand. --Heather Paulson --This text refers to the Paperback edition.See all Editorial Reviews
Astonishing book, it grew better with each chapter, touched upon all my senses and sensibilities, fed me sushi and left me with a little Satie.Published 5 days ago by Shannon Patrick
After a thousand reviews, there's no need for me to give a quick summary of this entertaining, stimulating, funny, and sad story. Read morePublished 6 days ago by John Sollami
I read so much and its very very rare I come across a book that I don't want to read to the end . This is one of them .Published 9 days ago by Graham Bond
Different, so dignified and rich.
The characters are very well developed and even though none are anything like me, I identified with them, and really felt like I was... Read more
Too pretentious. Maybe I can believe that a poor concierge could be a shy genius, but then a millionaire recognizing her genius, that she has so successfully hidden from the world,... Read morePublished 16 days ago by Carlos Allende
Every time I read it I learn something. A true joy and insight on the importance of simple momentsPublished 18 days ago by Ange