Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery

genre: adult fiction

I tried to read this book. I really did. I love the idea of it - a French apartment building, its philosophical concierge and a brilliant 12 year old resident. Their musings on life, philosophy and - I'm assuming - their eventual interaction with each other. I just couldn't get into it. Day after day for a week I tried - and while I found phrases that struck me with their beauty and an occasional truth that I wanted to remember, I couldn't feel anything for the characters. The concierge felt so self-absorbed and the 12 year old's thoughts didn't do anything for me. Between that and all the French names that I couldn't keep straight, and the deep philosophical monologues, I just wasn't enjoying myself enough to keep trying.

I'm sure there are people who love this book. It's possible that I'll try reading it again someday when I'm not in summertime mode.

4 comments:

bermudaonion said...

I've heard this one starts off really slow - I have a feeling I'm not smart enough for it.

morninglight mama said...

Okay, Corinne, definitely do not remove this one from your shelf forever. I do think it takes a while to get into (and man, am I ever happy to hear that I wasn't the only one having that issue), but there is seriously a shift and then the book began to SING for me-- really beautiful and thoughtful and so just lovely.

And, I have to say @bermudaonion-- I ABSOLUTELY felt that way!! There were segments that I read, and went, "Huh?" Sometimes when I re-read it, it began to clear up a little and other times I went, "HUH?!" even stronger. Then I just skipped that one part and continued on, just fine.

:)

Just my two pennies.

(And my word verification is "recan." You totally "recan" read this book!) :)

Gerbera Daisy Mom said...

In spite of the obvious popularity of this book, I've never been tempted to read it. I'm so thankful for your honesty -- but with "popular" books I think the common question (at least for me) is, "what's wrong with me? Why am I not getting this?" so, bravo for putting it down, whatever your reasons.

Melissa said...

Ah, I think you either love this one or hate it. (Though I didn't really love it...) I think being married to a professor with a philosophical bent helped my reading of it; it's heavy on the philosophy. But, there are moments -- and it does take a while -- that are quite endearing. It just takes a while to get there.

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