5. A Pleasant Impression

I have read something wonderful but have yet to craft a description of it with the beauty and sophistication the novel deserves. So, I'll leave it to Michelle (circa 2008):
"After I’d had a chance to think about it for a while I began to understand why I felt this sudden joy when Kakuro was talking about the birch trees. I get the same feeling when anyone talks about trees, any trees: the linden tree in the farmyard, the oak behind the old barn, the stately elms that have all disappeared now, the pine trees along the wind-swept coasts. There’s so much humanity in a love of trees, so much nostalgia for our first sense of wonder, so much power in just feeling our own insignificance when we are surrounded by nature… yes, that’s it: just thinking about trees and their indifferent majesty and our love for them teaches us how ridiculous we are- vile parasites squirming on the surface of the earth- and at the same time how deserving of life we can be, when we can honour this beauty that owes us nothing."

- Paloma, in The Elegance of the Hedgehog, by Muriel Barbery. My first Christmas book cracked, and every other page I want to mark something that is so perfectly written it makes my soul expand, like Paloma’s when she sees beyond herself to the beauty of the birch trees.
I also loved this bit:
There is one chocolate Florentine left, which I nibble out of greediness, with my front teeth, like a mouse. If you change the way you crunch into something, it is like trying something new.

-Renée, the concierge in Paloma's building, on triumphing over boredom.

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