Inbetweener 11 Muriel Barbery – The Elegance of the Hedgehog

My goodness it’s been nearly a year and I’ve barely deviated from the list but since we’re discussing this for the book club I had to change my reading habits a bit (and in the coming months there will be more inbetweeners) .

Renee is the concierge of a prestigious hotel and a closet intellectual, with a disdain for the rich people she works for.  Paloma Josse is an overly precocious twelve-year-old girl who is already showing prototype emo angst towards the world and is contemplating suicide. Together their lives change with the death of a tenant and the arrival of  Mr. Ozu. Renee is able to express her cooped up thoughts and views and ultimately becomes a happier person. Paloma befriends Renee and realises that there are genuine people on this planet. However things do not end exactly how they seem but I’ll leave that up to you to figure out what happens.

Within the actual story there are many philosophical interjections, Renee’s thoughts on art and language are acceptable but Paloma’s philosophy of life tends to veer on the pretentious and over emotional even and this detail stopped me from loving this novel. In fact the chapters dedicated to Paloma were not really enjoyable.

Other than that I enjoyed the satires on social class and the philosophical bits helps add a bit of zest to the novel. It is something I would recommend but be a bit careful.