Monday, June 14, 2010

REVIEW: The Elegance of the Hedgehog

When I put The Elegance of the Hedgehog in the meme last Monday, I also included the synopsis I found at the BN website.

A moving, funny, triumphant novel that exalts the quiet victories of the
inconspicuous among us.

I could not have said it better myself. Not having nearly enough time to read every day, I am delighted to have found this little gem to spend my time with. Each of us comes in contact with a multitude of people that we overlook every day. This book examines the lives of two such overlooked souls. Two very intelligent and suprising female protagonists. Every page contained some sweet surprise.

There was a lot of philosophy written into these pages, highly readable, well written philosophical passages. I was never once tempted to flip through the pages to skip past the philosophy; the exact opposite occurred, I wanted to read more. If I have more time this summer, I may pursue reading some of the philosophers mentioned in the text.

The characters are completely enchanting in their love for art, and appreciation of beauty in all around them. I am inspired to track down some of the obscure films mentioned in the text. Barbery's novel highlights the fact the trivialities of daily life have surpassed the simple appreciation of beauty.

Barbery has a talent for delicious passages of prose which readers of classic literature will devour. She writes descriptions reminiscent of Charlotte Bronte, possesses wit evocative of Jane Austen, and at times, the psychological complexities of Dostoevsky. Perhaps even Dickens can be recalled for his examination of social injustice and his sympathy for the impoverished of both body and soul. Barbery composes parallel movements in her two main protagonists that come together as a symphony of movement and emotion. This is a beautifully written book, the likes of which are not often found in modern literature.

TheElegance of the Hedgehog will be long remembered for its perfection. The unlikely friendship of a 50 something widow and a 12-year-old girl touches the soul and leaves its mark. They are each absorbed within their own selves, each needing a rescue. As the story unfolds, we gain insight into each of them, and when a wealthy Asian gentleman enters, he brings the two characters together. I grew to love these women, in different phases of life, and I wonder how many Palomas and Renees I am missing out on by being so very busy with trivialities thereby missing the big picture.


Mary Bennett said...

That sounds like a wonderful book. Sometimes I wonder if I'm wasting my time blogging, and should be reading and attmepting to do my creative writing more.
They say the average blog lasts about 2 years, so my time is about up.

Lily said...

It is a wonderful book!! And don't you dare give up on your blog. I don't find blogging necessarily takes up too much time, it is all the browsing that does :). I would miss you terribly in the blog-o-sphere!

Anonymous said...

This one sounds good, but it does sound a bit like The History of Love which I read a few years ago and was disappointed by. I'm adding it to my wishlist though so thanks for the review.

This is my first visit to your blog BTW and I'm liking it, a lot of the blogs I looked at through the Hop are a bit meme heavy for me.

Lily said...

I have not read The History of Love, I will look into that one :)

I have noticed a lot of meme heavy blogs too. I only started doing memes during the last couple of weeks, I've never really done them before. It has been fun seeing what other people are doing, but I generally have many different topics I want to write about, if I only had more time !!! I hope to see you around here again, thanks for stopping by.

Anonymous said...

I don't exactly have a problem with memes but I'm more interested in book reviews so having to go through a whole load of memes first is a bit discouraging

Lily said...

Agreed, Lucybird, agreed!!