My Top Three books of the year are in no particular order but today's choice is a French story that crept up on me and quietly captured my imagination, then held me hostage right through to the unexpected and macabre but hilarious ending.
It's The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery.
Set in a très ooh la la apartment block in Paris, the story is told through the eyes of the humble concierge who witnesses all the comings and goings of the elite residents, while concealing from them a fascinating intellect and a surprising private self.
It's a great character study as well as a quirky story, told as only the French can - with an exterior seriousness but an underlying, kooky humour that cracked me up.
I love the 12-year-old kid who forges a bond with the concierge, she reminds me of Hank's daughter in the TV series Californication with her premature darkness, insight and deadpan honesty.
This book made me laugh out loud.
For that, for the original voices of its characters, and for its unpredictable plot, it was always going straight to my Top Three.