The Elegance of the Hedgehog

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery

This is a truly beautiful book. I have much to say about it, but perhaps it would be best to let the book speak for itself. Anything I might have to say is insufferably insipid besides the beauty of a passage like this.

Do you know what a summer rain is?

To start with, pure beauty striking the summer sky, awe-filled respect absconding with your heart, a feeling of insignificance at the very heart of the sublimee, so fragile and swollen with the majesty of things, trapped, ravished, amazed by the bounty of the world.

And then, you pace up and down a corridor and suddenly enter a room full of light. Another dimension, a certainty just given birth. The body is no longer a prison, your spirit roams the clouds, you possess the power of water, happy days are in store, in this new birth.

Just as teardrops, when they are large and round and compassioante, can leave a long strand washed clean of discord, the summer rain as it washes away the motionless dust can bring to a person’s soul something like endless breathing.

This is the way a summer rain can take hold in you-like a new heart, beating in time with another’s.

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