Sunday, February 13, 2011

Bookish Review: The Elegance of the Hedgehog

The Elegance of the Hedgehog is a lovely novel. The translation seems masterful--I haven't read the original French, but with most translations, I find myself noticing that it is a translation and wondering what the original was really like--this did not feel like that. The flap description is a little misleading, as you expect the new Japanese neighbor who is supposed to bring the two narrators (one a concierge in a French condo building and one a precocious little girl who lives there) together, but he does not appear until well into the novel. The book gives lovely insight into how difficult it is to truly see someone for who they really are.

The only thing that I didn't love about the novel is the ending--it seemed appropriately French, but the protagonist had just conquered an irrational fear she had been harboring for most of her life, and then the ending seemed to confirm that her fear was actually justified. Otherwise, a nice read.

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