Renée is the concierge of a grand Parisian apartment building, home to members of the great and the good. Over the years she has maintained her carefully constructed persona as someone reliable but totally uncultivated, in keeping, she feels, with society’s expectations of what a concierge should be. But beneath this façade lies the real Renée: 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, apart from weekly visits by her one friend Manuela, Renée lives resigned to her lonely lot with only her cat for company. Meanwhile, several floors up, twelve-year-old Paloma Josse is determined to avoid the pampered and vacuous future laid out for her, and decides to end her life on her thirteenth birthday.
But unknown to them both, the sudden death of one of their privileged neighbours will dramatically alter their lives forever.
By turn moving and hilarious, this unusual novel became the top-selling book in France in 2007 with sales of over 900,000 copies to-date.
• The French publishing phenomenon of 2007 – from an initial print run of 4,000, sales of over 900,000 in hardback.
• Translation rights sold to 34 countries
• Cited in Paris Match magazine in ‘highlights of 2007’ along with the i-phone and facebook
• Winner of the prestigious 2007 French booksellers award
• To be published in English simultaneously in UK and US
• Published in Italy in October 2007 with sales to date of 400,000
Muriel Barbery curently lives in Japan with her husband. Her first book, Une gourmandise, has been translated into twelve languages.