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L’élégance du hérisson (Gallimard jeunesse, 2006)

Muriel Barbery was born in 1969. She passed the competitive examination for posts on the teaching staff of highs school and universities in philosophy. She published her first novel, Une Gourmandise, in 2000 ; it stages a food and wine critic who is about to die and is looking for a taste of his childhood. After the success of this first opus (translated into twelve languages), Muriel Barbery published her second novel, L’Elégance Du Hérisson in which the destinies of a caretaker keen on culture, a bourgeois little girl and a rich Japanese meet in the same building ; she gives us a social satire filled with humour and subtlety.

In french

Bibliography :

  • L’élégance du hérisson (Gallimard jeunesse, 2006)
  • Une gourmandise (Gallimard jeunesse, 2000)

Summary of L’élégance du hérisson :

"My name is Renée, I am 54 and the caretaker of 7, rue de la Grenelle, a bourgeois building. I am small, podgy and a widow ; I’ve bunions on my feet, and (if I go by what certain self-unpleasant morning smells make me think) a mammoth breath. Above all, I am so like the common image of a caretaker that one would never think I am better-read than any of those self-sufficient and rich people."

"My name is Paloma, I am 12 and I live in 7, rue de la Grenelle in a rich-man flat. But I’ve known for a long time that the final destination is the fishbowl, the vacuity and ineptitude of adult existence. How do I know that ? As a matter of fact, I am very intelligent, exceptionally so. That is why I have taken the decision that at the end of this very school year, on the day of my 13th birthday, I will commit suicide."