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The Elegance of the Hedgehog

by Muriel Barbery

Wow! It begins as a gently humorous commentary on class and society with loads of interesting philosophical ruminations - almost becomes a chick lit for the over 50s and then ...! Just keep reading until the Japanese tenant appears - after that you won't be able to put it down. And what an ending.

Extract

Pierre Arthens may know his Proust, but, for all that, he has developed no particular indulgence towards concierges; he clears his throat impatiently.

To recall his question: 'Would you bring it to me immediately?' ....

'Ye,' I reply, beating all records of concision, encouraged by his own brevity and by the absence of any 'please', which the use of the interrogative conditional did not, in my opinion, entirely redeem.
Translated by Alison Anderson

Parallels

Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont by Elizabeth Taylor
Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder
 

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