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Muriel Barbery

Muriel Barbery

Muriel Barbery’s novels include the New York Times bestseller, The Elegance of the Hedgehog (Europa, 2008), and Gourmet Rhapsody (Europa, 2009). She is also the author of The Writer’s Cats, illustrated by Maria Guitart, a short tale about esthetics, inspiration, the writing life, and cats. Barbery has lived in Kyōto, Amsterdam, and Paris, and now lives in the French countryside.

All Muriel Barbery's books

Upcoming events

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

  • “In this beautifully written novel... themes are explored of love, of longing, of life, death, and what it means to continue on.”
    — Under the Radar Magazine, Feb 5 2024
  • “A zigzag journey...rewinding and fast-forwarding from chapter to chapter, leaving us a bit dizzy but thoroughly delighted.”

    — The Boston Globe, Jan 24 2024
  • “Exquisite...Readers will be rapt.”
    — Publishers Weekly, Dec 7 2023
  • “Barbery’s poetic prose and Maria Guitart’s enchanting illustrations are an irresistible combination that readers will love to cozy up to and lose themselves in for a moment.”
    — Booklist, Nov 2 2021
  • “Creative types of all stripes—especially cat lovers—will be enchanted by Barbery's fun and delightfully philosophical storytelling.”
    — Shelf Awareness, Oct 15 2021
  • “[A Single Rose] is interspersed with aphoristic Japanese tales from various periods, as melancholy is gradually transmuted into joy.”
    — The New Yorker, Oct 11 2021
  • “Culture creates an intimacy and even a friendship among human beings who have never met but are giving each other a legacy – and the legacy of Kyōto is about humility and beauty, respect and faith in spirit.”
    — Publishers Weekly, Sep 27 2021
  • “With elegant and careful prose, [Barbery] offers descriptions of Kyoto and Japanese culture that transcend the genre of a travelogue. This novel will appeal to readers who long for happy endings and escape.”
    — Library Journal, Sep 21 2021
  • “A Single Rose is a modern fairy tale, a re-imagining of the story of the thawing, awakening, and rescue of solitary Rose, an evocative, transplanted retelling of the tale of a sleeping beauty.”
    — New York Journal of Books, Sep 14 2021
  • “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
  • “Barbery brings her usual lush descriptions to this slim novel, weaving traditional Japanese stories through the narrative. This luminous meditation on grief is perfect for readers of Laura Imai Messina’s The Phone Booth at the Edge of the World (2021).”
    — Booklist, Aug 12 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


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