L'élégance du hérisson - Muriel Barbery AFTER READING THE BOOK:
I just finished the book and I suppose it is better to let it sink in before I do a review, but since I do not think the following statements will be altered by further thought, I will state them now. First of all I rhink many who read this book will say OMG, it's a fairy tale! That couldn't happen. Well I don't agree. I am not going to give anything away, so don't worry. What happens, could happen, although I agree perhaps not that often. One has to believe and one has to have a few camelias. I found the book, ie its principal characters, very annoying at first, then they soften and the book gets funnier and funnier and then it gets serious. You need humor in life and you need it in books too. Real humor that sprinkles in between the shit that life throws at you, me and everyone. This book confronts the reader with important philosophical ideas. This book is about art. It is about beauty, and more specifically, what is the point of beauty? Why do we need beauty? Why do we need the beauty that art, music, litterature and nature offer us? This book is about our pets, about our daily routines. This book eggs us on to consider many, many philosophical ideas. Why do people give up? Why do we think life is absurd? Why do people play social games with each other? Why do we hide from each other? And do any of us clearly see what is happening around us?

Now, if you consider the above questions philosphical garbage, well then skip the book. Although you will in so doing loose an opportunity to laugh at ourselves and our world. Don't forget, the book is funny. Some may say I am way too naive. That's fine. Say that, but I will stand for my views.

Concerning the questions I had before I read the book - I don't think the disparate views on this book have anything to do with the translation or cultural differences. I think it is simply that people are different. We value different things. We are interested in different issues. It's that simple.

I really am curious about this book. The reviews are so different, thumbs up and thumbs down. Is it that there is a cultural difference between Europe and the States, or is it the translation? Who knows! The English translation is entitled The Elegance of the Hedgehog. Kirkus has already reviewed it, and they liked it. I will be reading it in French because no book is as good in translation as in its original. I am SO happy I have found a book here on GoodReads in French, maybe now I will get in contact with more French readers and current French litterature. Oh, and I really was surprised about some comment that this book was no "Amelie Poulain"! Who would ever think that one country will only produce one type of book.......... I have to remember to add to my list some books by Eric-Emanuel Schmitt, a French/Belgian author.