This was an odd choice to read. I think I picked it up because it was on sale and I saw a couple of positive reviews of it. The idea is great. Two people, very smart, hiding in plain sight and pretending that they are not brilliant. At the beginning of the book the concierge hides for fear of her life. She has the idea that the best way to stay alive is to not let anyone know who you are or for them to think you are trying to get above your station. The child hides in plain sight because…. well she wants to. She doesn’t hide to stay alive but is rather planing her own suicide because she is to smart to experience anything new.

The characters talk a lot of philosophy, but only to themselves. Its annoying really to hear someone talk to themselves about philosophy. In my experience philosophy needs interaction and is best in a dialogue, discussion or dispute. Like philosophy, change is not possible without conflict and for that it helps to have someone else. So the two main characters get to know each other through a new resident in the building in which they live.

Here is where the book lost me. These characters are supposed to be clever and brilliant and probably genesis, however the concierge thinks to herself when a Japanese man asks her out that he might not understand social hierarchy. What makes this worse is that she is supposed to be a fan of  Japanese film. It seems to me someone of this intelligence should know that someone from Japan would understand the ideas of social hierarchy more so than a French person. Oh yeah, the main characters are French, but the book is in English. Back to my point. Japanese society still relies heavily on social order. Sure there are those that rebel in that society, but they have a saying in Japan, “the nail that stands out gets hammered down.”

All in all a good read, but not the master piece that some reviews or jacket cover comments would have you believe. And also a spoiler here, when the two characters stop hiding, the one that hid to stay alive dies and the one that hid to not have to live does in fact go in and live.

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