What is it about this book that made me dislike it so? I disliked the characters, but I don't think that should be counted against a novel. After all, the author uses the characters she needs to tell a story, she doesn't write them to be my best friends. I guess it was the story, which goes something like this: the French are all vicious snobs obsessed with status and nothing else. They are so vicious, sensitive souls are afraid to be their true selves around them, whether it be a precocious, alarmingly intelligent - let me tell you again, I am *so* intelligent - twelve year old, or a fifty-five year old concierge who reads Great Literature voraciously and has excellent taste. Fine. (Cue the deus ex machina) What we really need is a non-threatening, charming, polite Japanese man to come and unite us through his quiet good humor and exquisite taste. Intersperse these happenings with philosophical insights that aren't insightful. So, clunky plot, fetishization of the "other," tired philosophy. Reason enough, yes?