The Elegance of the Hedgehog

Muriel Barbery
 A brilliant little girl has decided that life is just too much to bear for those who truly understand how empty it is, so she is going to commit suicide on her thirteenth birthday. Until that day, she is making note of "profound thoughts" and trying to find something so inspiring that it justifies staying alive. Alternating with her story is the story of Rene, the middle aged concierge of the girls building. Rene goes to great lengths to epitomize the "French concierge". She scuffs around in dirty old slippers and leaves her TV blaring in the living room with vapid day-time shows, while she sneaks into the back room to listen to opera or read Kant.
The Elegance of the Hedgehog has a literary voice that is singular indeed. It is a joy to read writing of this caliber. At the risk of sounding trite, this book is poignant, clever and witty. It is quirky, but in a natural way that seems fresh and inspired.