Sunday, December 8, 2013

My One-Sided Conversations with Victor Hugo

Okay, so I've undertaken the task of reading Les Miserables by Victor Hugo.  I'm about 40% through and the daily conversation goes something like this...

"Please, god, let this Bishop be somebody important in the novel!" - after Vic spends the whole beginning of the book talking about him.  Spoiler: He was kinda important, but Vic didn't need to spend the whole beginning of the book detailing the poor man's life in infinite detail.

"Honey?" I said to the Hubs who's read this several times.  "Please tell me all of this has something to do with the story."  His answer was that only about 300-400 pages of the 952 page novel is actually necessary to the story.

"Why are you talking about 1861??  Jean Valjean would be dead by then!  Or really really old.  Please tell me he's not really really old and you're doing a flash-forward before you go back."  Turns out he was just setting up his explanation of Waterloo...

"Victor, Victor, Victor... no, you do not NEED to tell us every little detail about Waterloo."  Turns out he used the entire battle of Waterloo to show - once again - that the man who took in Cosette was an ass.  Which came at the very end of the entire narrative about Waterloo.  :headdesk:

"Please tell me that this boat you're described in painful detail will be important at some point..."  It was for about a paragraph.

"Oh god, you already explained the entire moral character of the convent.  You do not need to tell us about the buildings! Or the garden you already described once. Or the really really old nun."  At which point, I looked at the Hubs and said "You know, I could probably draw the inside of this convent just from his descriptions.  Hubs laughed.  I think he's enjoying my frustration with this book.

All in all, though, once you get past the long-windedness of Mr. Hugo, the story itself is really very good.  I'm drawn in by the characters and by some of the description, but I think a lot of the time, Vic was talking just to hear himself talk.  He even references himself and why he thinks the reader really needs to know what he's putting down in the book.  (He's mostly wrong about that, though.)

(In my defense, I rarely talk to or about the authors of the books I'm reading, but Victor's been dead for a really long time, so I think I'm safe.)


  1. Uhm...didn't I mention "just watch the movie..."? Or better yet, the Cliffnotes version? *ducks* I do admire your tenacity. I had an easier time with War and Peace than I did Les Miserables. Plus, I think he named it that knowing that generations of readers would be made miserable by having to read this book. LOL Hang in there!

    1. Yes, yes, you did. But I want to do this, so I'm gonna do it. Even if it kills me. (Trust me, if Hugo wasn't already dead, I'd wanna kill him first.)

  2. The children's version is awesome. And that's about as far as I got in the reading portion of the homework. The oral report is probably much more interesting.

    1. The kid's version probably cuts out all the blah-blah-French history-blah-blah-bleh. I don't remember that homework. Must've been homeschool FL.

    2. I was making a funny. "The oral report" was my euphemism for the musical.