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July 2013 Contemporary Book Discussion

  • Jul 17, 2013 · 7:00 PM
  • This location is shown only to members


Title: The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
Genre: Fiction – General
Year of Publication: 2006
Approximate Page Count: 359 pages
Summary: This book takes place in Paris, France and features three very different, yet very alike characters. Renée conforms to every stereotype of the concierge - fat, cantankerous, addicted to television - yet, unbeknownst to her employers, she adores art, philosophy, music, and Japanese culture. There's also Paloma, a twelve-year-old genius who has decided to end her life on her 13th birthday on June 16th. They discover their kindred souls when a wealthy Japanese man named Ozu arrives in the building. Only he is able to gain Paloma's trust and to see through Renée's timeworn disguise to the secret that haunts her. This is a moving, funny, triumphant novel that exalts the quiet victories of the inconspicuous among us.
Suggested by: Jeri M.


Author and Book Presentation: Jeri
Discussion Questions: One volunteer is needed to lead the discussion with questions.

LAST UPDATE: July 3, 2013

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  • jeri m.

    thank you all for coming last night and sharing you thoughts.
    feel lucky to be a part of this. Jeri

    1 · July 18, 2013

  • Sue

    I read the book. I totally enjoyed it. I wanted to come very badly, but got overwhelmed with post dentist care issues.. Next time.

    1 · July 18, 2013

  • Pam N.

    It was great to re-visit the sense/style/arguments of this book and to remember how funny it was. New insights into the meanings behind choices the author made. I loved this book, the perspectives of the 13 year old and the older concierge made a great arc. Thanks for wonderful input from participants.

    1 · July 18, 2013

    • Charlie K.

      One thing that wasn't brought up last night, because there were so many more meaningful things, was Renée’s obsession with grammar. French has a more complicated grammar than English, and it took me a few minutes to catch on to the very subtle points that disturbed Renée in the speech of certain tenants. The translator did a fairly good job with the impossible task of coming up with English parallels on many of them. (Others were just left unexplained.) Actually I found her punctilio in grammar bizarre, especially considering her class background, and her unwillingness to cut others slack another parallel to Paloma’s unforgivingness. Thanks to everybody for great insights, particularly Wendy.

      1 · July 18, 2013

  • Wendy S.

    Liked the book, thoughtful and stimulating discussion, as always - I love this meetup!

    1 · July 18, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Broad participation, great book.

    1 · July 17, 2013

  • Courtney M.

    I'm sorry, I'm unable to attend.

    July 16, 2013

  • Lisa R.

    If a space opens up I'd love to join you. It will be my first meeting too.

    July 10, 2013

  • Patricia

    Looking forward to my first meeting.

    July 4, 2013

  • Anthony

    Thanks for volunteering, Jeri. The author/book role is all yours :-)

    July 3, 2013

  • jeri m.

    I would like to present the author
    thanks jeri macdonald

    June 24, 2013

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