Paloma Josse: A sensitive, socially-aware and hyper-intelligent 12-year-old, younger daughter of wealthy family living in the posh apartment building where Renée works.
“...maybe that's what life is about: there's a lot of despair, but also the odd moment of beauty, where time is no longer the same. It's as if those strains of music created a sort of interlude in time, something suspended, an elsewhere that had come to us, an always within never.”
“I wonder if the movement of the world might not be a voice raised in song.”
“For the first time in my life I understood the meaning of the word 'never.' And it's really awful. You say the word a hundred times a day but you don't really know what you're saying until you're faced with a real 'never again.' Ultimately you always have the illusion that you're in control of what's happening; nothing seems definitive. I may have been telling myself all these weeks that I was going to commit suicide, but did I really believe it? Did my decision really make me understand the meaning of the word 'never?' Not at all, it made me understand that it's in my power to decide. And I think that even a few seconds before dying, 'never again' would still just be empty words. But when someone that you love dies...well, I can tell you that you really feel what it means and it really really hurts. It's like fireworks suddenly burning out in the sky and everything going black.”
“Madame Michel has the elegance of the hedgehog: on the outside, she's covered in quills, a real fortress, but my gut feeling is that on the inside, she has the same simple refinement as the hedgehog; a deceptively indolent little creature, fiercely solitary—and terribly elegant.”
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