"Madame Michel has the elegance of a hedgehog: on the outside, she's covered in quills, a real fortress, but my gut feeling is that on the inside, she has the same simple refinement as the hedgehog: a deceptively indolent little creature, fiercely solitary- and terribly elegant."
I have just finished reading this literary gem. I bought it knowing nothing about the book or author. It was originally written in French and sold more than a million copies in France, whilst winning many awards.
The story follows the lives of two people, a 50-something year old concierge of luxury Parisan apartments, Renee Michel and Paloma Josse, a 12-year-old girl, who is planning to commit suicide on her 13th birthday. These two characters meet when a Japanese man moves into one of the apartments and binds them together through his love for music, literature and intellectual conversation.
Initially I was slightly bored with the book, as the characters were unfolding, it seemed nothing was happening, but by the end I was in love with Renee Michel's character and am left longing for more.
Can you recommend any good reads?