The Elegance of the Hedgehog is just waiting for its Wes Anderson adaptation. The whole way through I felt like I was reading one of his movies. The characters were almost distractingly whimsical, more caricatures than real people, and it took me a while to get into this book. About 80 pages in I finally found my stride, which was helped by a strong commitment to suspension of disbelief, and I was hooked.
This book follows two protagonist: a precocious and suicidal young girl and an intellectual but stilted concierge who live in the same building in Paris. Every few chapters alternate between these two characters points of view, which is a neatly applied device.
I enjoyed watching these characters grow and change as they each decide whether to be a part of the world or just live on it. The language is beautiful, though a bit verbose at times for my taste, and it is a neat book.
The reason I can’t give it higher marks is that I can’t make my mind up about the abrupt and tragic ending. I suggest that others read this book to make up their own minds because I think even with a strange ending, this story is worth a go.