Reviewed by Liesbeth
There are some books you read, where you just think, yes, that’s exactly how it is for me, that’s exactly what life is like. The Elegance of the Hedgehog is one of those books, and this is a testament to not only the author Muriel Barbery, but also to Alison Anderson who translated the book so perfectly from its original French.
For me the best parts of the book were those that described the friendship between the heroine and her closest friend. At one stage, they meet for tea, and Barbery writes: “We sit and converse a while longer, in the calm space of an old friendship.” I just love that phrase. The calm space of an old friendship is often where I am at my happiest, knowing I can be 100% myself with my dearest old friends. Barbery really knows how to capture these little life moments without being clichéd or dull.
The Elegance of the Hedgehog to me was kind of like a big sister book – it challenges you to think, but it rewards you for it as well. Some chapters dabble in philosophy, and they ask you to think in new ways, or get your head around what might at first seem like a tricky concept. But if you persevere it really is worth it.
These philosophical chapters are interspersed with intriguing plot development and charming quirky characters who really make the book come alive, and at times made me laugh out loud. Overall it is a lovely warm book, that makes you laugh and think in equal measures. It deserves to be read on sunny Saturday mornings at a Parisian style coffee shop.