An enchanting New York Times and international bestseller about life, art, literature, philosophy, culture, class, privilege, and power, seen through the eyes of a 54-year old French concierge and a precocious but troubled 12-year-old girl. A moving, funny, triumphant novel that exalts the quiet victories of the inconspicuous among us.
You can read how good the novel is ack, so good!, but I'd like to mention how well the narrators do. Not only is the feeling brought across well, but you can always hear them well. It is not always so on some of the audio books I've heard.
I despised this book. The first third of it seems to be Barbery's attempt to showcase her intellect and her limited knowledge of philosophy, ironically criticizing pretentiousness while wallowing in it. The two narrators are both snobbish and self-absorbed in their own unique and horrifying ways, and I'm not sure why anyone would care about either one of them. The ending is jarring and seems to contradict the quasi-philosophical message established through the first 90 of the book. I ended the book thinking, Well, that was totally pointless. Don't get me wrong--I don't have a problem with tragic endings, provided that they grow organically out of the plot, but in this case, the tragedy seemed out of place, as if perhaps Barbery couldn't think of how else to resolve her novel and took a swift, easy, and brutish way out, rather than providing a thoughtful and meaningful ending. Seriously--don't waste your time on this book, unless you're a masochist who just enjoys feeling frustrated and depressed.