Everyone in America seems to talk about the Les Mis movie. Here in Germany it starts on Feb. 21. And because I’m an uneducated parvenu, I’m preparing by reading the novel for the first time.
So was Hugo paid by the line or what?
I think I’m in the digital equivalent of maybe 100 pages and so far I know the bishop is a saint. Bully for the diocese.
But maybe we could move on soonish? Look, I’m not principally opposed to long books and I know that characters are more important than plot. But then maybe we could have heard about the next character like five chapters ago? Or maybe an occasional joke to break the monotony? (One that I caught so far, and it was lame.) Or, if he’s working up to surprise us with the bishop being evil, even that would have worked better ante saeculos saeculorum. Amazon carries abridged editions and the critiques are full of complaints how people could dare to cut more than 1000 pages from a classic. And normally I sympathize with that kind of sentiment, but in this case that’s what the f— editor should have done 150 years ago. Every tabloid has a higher information density than this.
Probably I’m going to tough it out because supposedly there is something great ahead. But seriously, this was written at a time when the sunk cost of a book was large enough to force people to read it all. To get the same effect nowadays one would have to write a blog rant making the whole world aware of the beginning attempt.