Muriel Barbery: An Elegant Quill

Catherine Hélie / Gallimard

Many authors dream of getting their books onto best-seller lists, but few pull it off with the panache of French writer Muriel Barbery. Her second novel, The Elegance of the Hedgehog, has been at or near the top of France's sales charts for 102 straight weeks since its September 2006 publication. It has been translated into a half-dozen languages and is being adapted for film. In South Korea and Italy, the book has generated the same sort of enthusiasm and devotion that made it a publishing phenomenon in France. Now, with the release of an English translation on Sept. 7, Elegance...

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