Book Review: Pindsvinets Elegance

PindsvinetsElegance

Pindsvinets elegancePindsvinets elegance af Muriel Barbery

Karakter: 4 af 5 stjerner
Første sætning: “Marx har fuldstændigt ændret min verdensopfattelse,” oplyste den unge Pallières mig om her til morgen.
Antal sider: 376

En meget original bog, der rørte mit hjerte og fik mig til at grine.

Den handler om Renée, der er portner i et fornemt lejlighedskompleks i Paris. Hun er en vellæst og intellektuel kvinde, men føler et stærkt behov for at skjule denne side af sig selv for omverdenen – og fra beboerne i bygningen. Så hun spiller rollen som den uvidende portner.

Og så er der Paloma: en 12-årig intelligent pige, der har besluttet sig for at tage sit eget liv på sin 13-års fødselsdag. Hun føler sig fremmedgjort over for de voksne i sit liv og er bange for at blive ligesom dem når hun bliver voksen. Og det er derfor hun beslutter sig for ikke at blive voksen.

Jeg har læst en del anmeldelser, der kritiserer Paloma og hævder, at hun er skildret som for intelligent for sin alder. Der må jeg sige, jeg er stærkt uenig. Ja, hun er ekstremt intelligent og meget kvikkere end normale børn på hendes alder. Men nogle børn er bare exceptionelt intelligente. Mensa-intelligente. Og selvom Paloma er klogere som 12-årig end jeg eller nogen jeg kender nogensinde vil være, virkede hun for mig aldrig urealistisk. Og det var fordi bogen var så godt skrevet: Palomas kapitler afgav virkelig den der følelse af at være skrevet af et barn. Det var virkelig elegant skrevet og jeg satte aldrig spørgsmålstegn ved hendes karakter.

Til at starte med syntes jeg, at Renées besættelse med at holde sit liv hemmeligt var lidt overdrevet og unødvendigt. Men til sidst gav det mening. Og det havde også en meget vigtig funktion: Det gjorde det fuldstændig klokkeklart, at hun ikke prøvede at være intellektuel for at opnå prestige ellers status. Hun har en ægte lidenskab for litteratur. Og ved at skjule sit sande jeg opfatter læseren hende aldrig som uægte, og det var med til at skabe kontrast mellem hende og de andre karakterer i bogen. Men det fattede jeg ikke før mod slutningen.

Én ting der gik mig på var, at bogen var en tand for filosofisk til min smag, og der var nogle afsnit som jeg blot skimmede.
Et andet kritikpunkt er, at den danske oversættelse manglede en ekstra omgang korrekturlæsning.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Pages: 376

A very original book that touched my heart and made me laugh.

The story is about Renée, a concierge in a posh apartment in Paris. She’s a well-read and intellectual woman, but she feels a strong need to hide this side of her personality from the world – and the residents in her building. So she plays the role of the ignorant concierge.

And then there’s Paloma: A twelve-year-old clever girl who has decided to kill herself on her thirteenth birthday. She feels alienated from the grown-ups in her life and fears becoming like them when she grows up. And that’s why she decides not to grow up.

I’ve read many reviews criticizing Paloma, saying she was depicted as too smart for her age. I have to say I disagree. Yes, she is extremely intelligent and so much smarter than other kids her age. But some kids are just smart. Menza-smart. And even though Paloma is smarter at the age of 12 than I or anyone I know would ever be, I never stopped believing in her as a character. And that’s because the writing was so good: Paloma’s chapters really felt like they were written by a child. This was elegantly done and made her realistic to me.

At first I thought that Renée’s obsession with keeping her life a secret was a bit too much and I kept thinking “why is she like this? It’s so unnecessary” But at the end it made sense. And it also had a very important function: It helped make absolutely clear that she wasn’t trying to be intellectual because of prestige or status, she read books out of pure passion. And by hiding her real self, the reader never had her down as a fake, and this helped contrast her with the other characters in the book. But I didn’t really get that till the end of the book.

One thing that bothered me was that the book was a bit too philosophical for my taste, and there were some parts that I just skimmed through.
And I have to say that the Danish translation needed another round of proofreading.

Follow me: Bloglovin * Facebook * Pinterest * Lookbook * Goodreads


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *