I am nearing the halfway mark of The Elegance of the Hedgehog. This book has been an interesting read so far and the plot is about to get more fun with the entrance of a new character.
The novel is narrated by two persons in alternating chapters. The first is Renee, a 50 year old, short, plump and ugly widowed concierge of a very posh Parisian apartment occupied by the very rich. Renee is an autodidact who tries very hard to disguise her intelligence and knowledge because French society deems it necessary for a person of her class and background to remain ignorant.
The other character is Paloma, a very intelligent and precocious 12-year old living in the apartment that Renee is looking after and who plans to commit suicide when she turns 13 for she believes that the world is a meaningless place to live in.
I don’t really like Renee. In fact, I dislike her. She is an old trout with smug, self-satisfied and condescending ways. On the other hand, I like Paloma. Alot. Her thoughts and observations about things and people are profound, insightful and soulful. I thought her character was very well written by the author.
I couldn’t resist copying out one of my favourite passages narrated by Paloma in the book about the grace, beauty, harmony and intensity of people which may possibly give meaning to life. Remember, she is looking for some form of meaning in life which makes her feel that she should continue living. Morbid, depressing, yes.