The Elegance of the Hedgehog

Two days in and I am halfway through this book—where it has just taken a turn towards the Japanese and is no longer telling the tale I expected—and I am trying to read double-fast and mete it out carefully at the same time. What I want is to get at the story, all of it, without ever reaching an end.

If you think about it at all seriously, aesthetics are really nothing more than an initiation to the Way of Consonance, a sort of Way of the Samurai applied to the intuition of authentic forms. We all have a knowledge of harmony, anchored deep within. It is this knowledge that enables us, at every instant, to apprehend quality in our lives and, on the rare occasions when everything is in perfect harmony, to appreciate it with the apposite intensity. And I am not referring to the sort of beauty that is the exclusive preserve of Art. Those who feel inspired, as I do, by the greatness of small things will pursue them to the very heart of the inessential where, cloaked in everyday attire, this greatness will emerge from within a certain ordering of ordinary things and from the certainty that all is as it should be, the conviction that it is fine this way.

Muriel Barbery

(PS: I ordered the UK edition rather than the pedestrian US edition because I loved the cover. Thus is my everlasting belief in the greatness of small things.)