This book has been an absolute bestseller for Booktopia and consistently in the top of the charts since its original release. Highly recommended!
An enchanting "New York Times" and international bestseller and award-winner about life, art, literature, philosophy, culture, class, privilege, and power, seen through the eyes of a 54-year old French concierge and a precocious but troubled 12-year-old girl.
Renee Michel is the 54-year-old concierge of a luxury Paris apartment building. Her exterior ("short, ugly, and plump") and demeanor ("poor, discreet, and insignificant") belie her keen, questing mind and profound erudition.
Paloma Josse is a 12-year-old genius who behaves as everyone expects her to behave: a mediocre pre-teen high on adolescent subculture, a good but not outstanding student, an obedient if obstinate daughter. She plans to kill herself on the sixteenth of June, her thirteenth birthday.
Both Renee and Paloma hide their true talents and finest qualities from the bourgeois families around them, until a wealthy Japanese gentleman named Ozu moves into building. Only he sees through them, perceiving the secret that haunts Renee, winning Paloma's trust, and helping the two discover their kindred souls. Moving, funny, tender, and triumphant, Barbery's novel exalts the quiet victories of the inconspicuous among us.
About the Author
Muriel Barbery was born May 28th, 1969 in Casablanca, Morocco. She was raised in France. She entered the École muriel_barberyNormale Supérieure de Fontenay-Saint-Cloud in 1990 and obtained her agrégation in philosophy in 1993. She then taught philosophy at the Université de Bourgogne, in a lycée, and at the Saint-Lô IUFM. She currently lives in Japan with her husband Stéphane.
She is a French novelist and professor of philosophy. She has written two books that has been translated into English, Gourmet Rhapsody (original title Une Gourmandise, 2000) and The Elegance of the Hedgehog (original title: L’Élégance du hérisson, 2006).
'Resistance is futile ... you might as well buy it before someone recommends it for your book group. Its charm will make you say yes' The Guardian 'Clever, informative and moving ... this is an admirable novel which deserves as wide a readership here as it had in France.' The Observer 'The novel wins over its fans with a life-affirming message, a generous portion of heart and Barbery's frequently wicked sense of humor' Time Magazine 'A book of great charm and grace.' The Metro 'The book's attractive, Amelie-esque Parisian setting and cast of eccentrics will appeal to many' Sunday Telegraph 'This breathtakingly singular novel ... is totally French yet completely universal' Good Housekeeping 'Reveals itself as a version of the Cinderella fairytale' Financial Times