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Muriel Barbery

Muriel Barbery

Muriel Barbery is the author of the New York Times bestseller, The Elegance of the Hedgehog (Europa, 2008), Gourmet Rhapsody (Europa, 2009), The Life of Elves (Europa, 2016), and A Strange Country (Europa, 2020). She has lived in Kyoto, Amsterdam, and Paris, and now lives in the French countryside.

All Muriel Barbery's books

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Run Hedgehog, Run! Le Monde (France) October 2, 2007 The Hedgehog’s running, all right. And from the offices of Gallimard, its French publisher, they’re watching the phenomenon with a...
Muriel Barbery's bestselling novel The Elegance of the Hedgehog (forthcoming from Europa Editions in September 2008) has been selected among the 30 titles chosen between 2005 and 2008 as part ot the French...
from Me and My Big Mouth Hedgehog I started this book in the knowledge that it had sold over a million copies in its native France. That is a merde-load of books by anyone's standard. For the first...
This dark but redemptive novel, an international bestseller, marks the debut in English of Normandy philosophy professor Barbery. Renée Michel, 54 and widowed, is the stolid concierge in an elegant...

Latest reviews

  • “Though A Single Rose is centered around vulnerable, tenacious Rose, its core is found in its Japanese setting. The novel balances lush, cultivated gardens and weighted symbolism with mischievous foxes, matcha, sliced eel, and sushi, all forming‘one happy chaos’and a fascinating maze of emotional release.”
    — Foreword Reviews, Sep 1 2021
  • “This plaintive novel impresses with its smoothness.”
    — Publishers Weekly, Jul 1 2021
  • “Readers who love meditative, dreamlike fiction will enjoy this translation, which rings with the music of the original French.”
    — Booklist, Mar 1 2020
  • "The novel is essentially a parable about the power both of art, which abolishes the “border between earth and mind,” and of women."
    — The New Yorker, Mar 14 2016
  • "Barbery has shown herself to be one of the greatest writers of children since C. S. Lewis.”
    — The Harvard Crimson, Mar 3 2016
  • "Her new novel, “The Life of Elves,” fully delivers on its title. Ms. Barbery unleashes a complete magical menagerie, a kaleidoscopic cast that includes not only elves but also unicorns; a giant squirrel; a fantastical, shape-shifting wild boar; and an otter with a human face."
    — The New York Times, Feb 19 2016
  • An orphan girl is left on the steps of a farmhouse late one snowy night. Raised in the French countryside by a loving family, she finds she has a strong, even magical, affinity with the natural world around her.
    — Booklist, Feb 1 2016
  • This French author's last novel, "The Elegance of the Hedgehog," was a surprise international best-seller. Her new book is the magical realist tale of two girls with special gifts...
    — Newsday, Jan 20 2016
  • Nearly a decade ago, Muriel Barbery enchanted readers the world over with her novel The Elegance of the Hedgehog -- and she’s back with a still-more twee tale of two children brought together by their almost supernatural connections to music and the natural world.
    — Huffington Post, Dec 31 2015
  • Barbery follows up The Elegance of the Hedgehog, an international phenomenon, with a gauzy, glimmering fantasy that has also drawn worldwide acclaim. Cutting across a meadow, a little girl named Maria senses a presence and, as snow begins falling, is led into the forest...
    — Library Journal, Dec 31 2015
  • The conjoined powers of two magical children bring about a new alliance to thwart evil and unite the natural world in this fantastical novel from a bestselling French writer.
    — Kirkus Reviews, Nov 19 2015
  • The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery (Europa, $15). Witty and touching, this novel features two of my favorite female characters: Renée, the concierge of a Paris apartment building who hides her passion for culture, and the precocious 12-year-old Paloma, who yearns...
    — Oct 27 2014
  • The Elegance of the Hedgehog becomes required reading for incoming University of Texas freshmen
    — The Washington Post, Aug 21 2014
  • Vogue chooses The Elegance of the Hedgehog as Holiday Reading Pick
    — Vogue, Jan 6 2014
  • People often say food is good for the soul, not just the stomach. Well, literature is a lot like food—it comforts the soul in ways nothing else can. A good book takes you to a place, a time, you have never experienced before. You become friends with the characters; you interact...
    — Dec 2 2013
  • I was moved to read this bestseller by the recommendations of respected fellow bloggers; sadly I cannot recall exactly who those were at this point in time! But to them I must say, “Thank you.” For this was indeed a charming story. In an exclusive Paris apartment building...
    — Oct 24 2013
  • The Elegance of the Hedgehog  is told from the perspective of a French concierge of an upper class building, Renée, and a pre-teen genius, Paloma who lives in that same building. Renée is determined to hide the fact that she is well read and brilliant while still enjoying...
    — Aug 28 2013
  • I think I’ve been very lucky in my reading choices this year. And it keeps getting better. The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery has been on my wishlist for a long time until my happening sister got it before me. Lucky for me, she’s the sharing sort, so I finally...
    — Jul 29 2010
  • This elegant novel was translated from the original French.  It is set in Paris, in a posh apartment building.  The two main characters are a secretly genius concierge and a suicidal secretly genius 12-year-old girl.  The book was hard for me to get into at first.  It consists...
    — Jul 22 2010


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