Comet Calendar Event Details

Reading the World Book Club
Tuesday, Jun. 11
6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. Location: MC 4.2, Library Administrative Suite Conference Room

The Center for Translation Studies, in partnership with the McDermott Library and UTD Bookstore announces the upcoming book for the Reading the World Book Club

Please join us on Tuesday, June 11 @ 6 pm in the Conference Room of the Library’s Administrative Suite, MC 4.2 (4thfloor), for a discussion of Muriel Barbery’s best-selling and award-winning novel, The Elegance of the Hedgehog (2008), translated from the French by Allison Anderson. The book is available for loan from the UTD library and for purchase from the UTD Bookstore.

About the book:
We are in the center of Paris, in an elegant apartment building inhabited by bourgeois families. Renée, the concierge, is witness to the lavish but vacuous lives of her numerous employers. Outwardly she conforms to every stereotype of the concierge: fat, cantankerous, addicted to television. Yet, unbeknownst to her employers, Renée is a cultured autodidact who adores art, philosophy, music, and Japanese culture. With humor and intelligence, she scrutinizes the lives of the building's tenants, who for their part are barely aware of her existence. 

Then there's Paloma, a twelve-year-old genius. She is the daughter of a tedious parliamentarian, a talented and startlingly lucid child who has decided to end her life on the sixteenth of June, her thirteenth birthday. Until then she will continue behaving as everyone expects her to behave: a mediocre pre-teen high on adolescent subculture, a good but not an outstanding student, an obedient if obstinate daughter. 

Paloma and Renée hide both their true talents and their finest qualities from a world they suspect cannot or will not appreciate them. They discover their kindred souls when a wealthy Japanese man named Ozu arrives in the building. Only he is able to gain Paloma's trust and to see through Renée's timeworn disguise to the secret that haunts her. This is a moving, funny, triumphant novel that exalts the quiet victories of the inconspicuous among us. 

The book was reviewed in the NYTin 2008.