Described by Le Figaro as, the publishing phenomenon of the decade, Muriel Barbery’s The Elegance of the Hedgehog has clocked up sales of a staggering 2.5 million copies worldwide.
Published in 33 countries and 30 languages, it earned Barbery 5th place on the list of bestselling fiction authors worldwide in 2008. Gallic Books have sold over 50,000 copies.
The Gourmet: After a lifetime spent in the single-minded pursuit of sensual delights Pierre Arthens, France’s greatest food critic, lies on his deathbed.
Tormented by an inability to recall the most delicious food to ever have passed his lips Arthens, a selfish, arrogant, unpleasant man, trawls his memory recalling episodes from early childhood onwards, in an obsessive search for that exquisite taste, each memory giving rise to wonderful descriptions of food.
Interspersed throughout are chapters from his heartbroken wife, his mistress, his son, his favourite nephew, his doctor, his granddaughter, Violette the maid, Renée the concierge, even his cat, people he has loathed, loved, betrayed and ignored, who all take their turn to tell their story.
Social class, philosophy, food and the meaning of life are all explored in Barbery’s illuminating novel.
Muriel Barbery studied philosophy at the élite École Normale Supérieure, but gave up life as a career academic to train secondary school philosophy teachers.
She is married and lives in Japan. The Gourmet is her first novel and features a brief appearance by Renée the concierge who is the main chararcter in The Elegance of the Hedgehog, her second novel.