Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Hedgehog Elegance

I've just reached the part in this book from whence the title came. And it is brilliant.

The younger heroin, Paloma, is conversing with another tenant, a new tenant (unusual in itself, because these apartments, "apartments for rich people", are generally passed down to the next generation in the same family), about the concierge (our other heroin), and how she doesn't seem to be as unintelligent as she puts on. It is then that our young girl tells us that she feels that the older woman has the elegance of a hedgehog. "Covered in quills, a real fortress, but...on the inside, she has the same simple refinement as the hedgehog: a deceptively indolent little creature, fiercely solitary - and terribly elegant."

So much of this book is over my head. I haven't read enough philosophy. I haven't read enough Russian literature. Or seen enough films. The concierges grammar and knowledge are well beyond her station in life. She brought herself there. She reads and studies everything. I had to look up autodidact in my dictionary. It wasn't there. I had to figure out for myself what it meant, from the meaning of the word didactic (instructive), which was.

I set this aside for a while, feeling overwhelmed. But now that I've picked it back up, I don't want to put it back down again until I'm done.

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