Monday, August 10, 2009

The Elegance of the Hedgehog

It's strange, I just saw a movie, yesterday, called Seraphine, about a woman, a cleaning woman, living outside of Paris, who looked remarkably 'common'; but possessed this "genius" for painting beautiful, colorful canvases.  Everyone assumed her to be simple because of her appearance.  And now, I've just finished the book, The Elegance of the Hedgehog, uncannily, it has the same message; appearances are deceptive, and just bc somebody looks unrefined doesn't mean they are.  It's about a woman, who is a concierge, in a Paris hotel; plump and unkempt, with bunions on her feet, she is what everyone expects from a concierge at a bourgeoise building in a posh Parisian neighborhood.  But she is an autodidact who furtively devours art, philosophy, music and Japanese culture.  She's critical of the people who live in the hotel, who are her inferiors in every way except that of material wealth.    The book celebrates every person's "invisible parts".

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