Okay, so I am still in Portugal as expected,:- this is a long and involved novel (see below posts for details) but I am really enjoying it! I have always had a soft spot for Portugal based on previous, actual, visits, so do not mind my literary travels keeping me here a while.
BUT, as mentioned, I need to use my time tarrying here to catch up on my early stage travels... you will find my ports-of-call in England, Andorra and Spain below but I need to update on my second stage visit in France..
This was a book called "The Elegance of the Hedgehog" by Muriel Barbery. On a selfish level, I think it was appropriate that my first stage trip around the world was from London to Paris (and as it happened I was on the Eurostar train through Paris on a short holiday as I was reading the French book!).
As to the book itself, well I will leave it's well-deserved positive review to the following from Amazon.com:
"Renée is the concierge of a grand Parisian apartment building on the Left Bank. To the residents she is honest, reliable and uncultivated an ideal concierge. But Renée has a secret. Beneath this conventional façade she is passionate about culture and the arts, and more knowledgeable in many ways than her employers with their outwardly successful but emotionally void lives. Down in her lodge, Renée is resigned to living a lie, with only visits from her one friend Manuela to break the monotony. Meanwhile, several floors up, twelve-year-old Paloma Josse is determined to avoid the predictably bourgeois future laid out for her, and plans to commit suicide on her thirteenth birthday. But before this happens, the death of one of their privileged neighbours will bring dramatic change to number 7, Rue de Grenelle, altering the course of both their lives forever. With sales of over a million copies in French, this funny, moving and wise novel is now an international publishing sensation. "