Just Started: “The Elegance of the Hedgehog”

Okay, so this book came up kind of randomly in my reading queue yesterday. It’s been on my TBR list since October of 2010, but when I found myself at work on my lunch hour with “nothing to read,” I remembered that I had bought this book by Muriel Barbery and that, “I think it’s still in the backseat of my car.” I ventured out into the parking lot (& thus the blast furnace that is the “summer of 2012 in Indiana”) just long enough to rescue it and began reading…

How’s this for the two main protagonists describing themselves in the first few pages?

First, Paloma, the twelve-year old daughter of a family residing in elegant Parisian hotel: “…the fact is I am very intelligent. Exceptionally intelligent. Even now, if you look at children my age, there’s an abyss between us. And since I don’t really want to stand out, and since intelligence is very highly rated in my family – an exceptionally gifted child would never have a moment’s peace – I try to scale back my performance at school, but even so I always come first.”

Next, Renee, the 54-year old concierge of the hotel:
“I am short, ugly, and plump, I have bunions on my feet and, if I am to credit certain early mornings of self inflicted disgust, the breath of a mammoth. I did not go to college, I have always been poor, discreet, and insignificant. I live alone with my cat, a big, lazy tom who has no distinguishing features other than the fact that his paws smell bad when he is annoyed. Neither he nor I make any effort to take part in the social doings of our relative species.”

Two characters after my own heart (in many, not all, ways). I’m hoping the book will live up to what’s promised in the dust jacket. A novel that “…exalts the quiet victories of the inconspicuous among us.” I’ll probably finish it this weekend and have more to say then. I’m on page 90 of 325 now and loving it so far.

Also, credit for my being aware of this book goes to a trusted fellow blogger, Alex, at “The Sleepless Reader.” She wrote a review of this book , leading me to put it on my list.  Have any of you read it?