The Elegance Of The Hedgehog

2309 Words Mar 31st, 2016 10 Pages
A Mesmerizing Story Lost in Translation
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery, Translated by Alison Anderson The Book
A book can be judged by its cover, regardless of what anyone says. In fact, this cover adequately represents what this book turned out to be: gorgeous, yet an unfortunate, misguided, attempt at translating beauty. Take, for example, the minute details of the girl on the cover: her feet are blurry and the girl herself has no resemblance to any character in the book; and yet, the colours and title itself highlight beauty and simplicity. This is no fault on the part of the author, but it certainly reflects on the book as a whole—there is an unfortunate trend within it to be misaligned with the beauty the words, originally in French, must have been like. Instead, the book’s translation is anything but refined, and anything but what the whole book is about: beauty.

We are in an affluent neighbourhood in France, sometimes in the 2000’s, surely. There lives several affluent families catered by a concierge named Renée. On the fifth floor lives Paloma Josse, inquisitive twelve year old extraordinaire. Life moves slowly.

The Elegance of the Hedgehog starts off simply enough: you are immediately thrown into the world of Karl Marx and a ramble on the societal expectations of being a fifty-four year old concierge at a prestigious apartment full of bourgeois families that simply cannot know that the woman, Renée Michel, is an autodidact—an enthusiast of…
Open Document