Summer 2019 Reading Group Indie Next List
“This book contains two Japanophiles, one sarcastic French tween, and zero actual hedgehogs. It’s exactly the sort of warm, funny cosmopolitan novel I pore through the back gondolas of used bookstores looking for. The tension between Paloma and her wealthy parents, and the secret Renee the building concierge is hiding, are as relevant to today’s class struggles as when the book was written. Suicide is a tragedy; the silver lining is that we have literature to help us cope.”
— Holly Doering, Auntie's Bookstore, Spokane, WA
The international publishing sensation, with sales of over 10 million copies worldwide
Rene is the concierge of a grand Parisian apartment building. She maintains a carefully constructed persona as someone uncultivated but reliable, in keeping with what she feels a concierge should be. But beneath this facade lies the real Rene: passionate about culture and the arts, and more knowledgeable in many ways than her employers with their outwardly successful but emotionally void lives.
Down in her lodge, apart from weekly visits by her one friend Manuela, Rene lives with only her cat for company. Meanwhile, several floors up, twelve-year-old Paloma Josse is determined to avoid the pampered and vacuous future laid out for her, and decides to end her life on her thirteenth birthday. But unknown to them both, the sudden death of one of their privileged neighbours will dramatically alter their lives forever.
'Resistance is futile ... you might as well buy it before someone recommends it for your book group. Its charm will make you say yes' The Guardian
'Clever, informative and moving ... this is an admirable novel which deserves as wide a readership here as it had in France.' The Observer
'The novel wins over its fans with a life-affirming message, a generous portion of heart and Barbery's frequently wicked sense of humor' Time Magazine
'A book of great charm and grace.' The Metro
'The book's attractive, Am lie-esque Parisian setting and cast of eccentrics will appeal to many' Sunday Telegraph
'This breathtakingly singular novel ... is totally French yet completely universal' Good Housekeeping
'Reveals itself as a version of the Cinderella fairytale' Financial Times