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.

This entry was posted in Feuilleton and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Booooring

  1. Joe says:

    I gave up after Fantain loses her teeth. The movie is awesome, well worth seeing and probably a more than adequate abridgment.

  2. Laura says:

    I haven’t seen the movie, or read the book, but I saw a professional production of the musical, and it is amazing.  It is the best musical I have ever seen.

    The French Revolution was devastating to the Catholic Church.  Les Miserables. the musical, does not speak to that, but it is still good.

  3. Brandon Jaloway says:

    Gilbert, I listened to the whole thing on audiobook. It is awesome. However there are more tangents coming. He goes on forever about the Battle of Waterloo, the slang used by street urchins in Paris, and his own personal philosophy of sewers (I am not kidding). There might be a few other tangents I am missing. They really have nothing to do with the story.

    I say it is awesome but I should qualify that. I hardly agree with any of his politics or philosophy. So, the story is great if you overlook most of what he is trying to teach/convince you of. I don’t completely disagree with his philosophy on sewers… lol.

    • Gilbert says:

      Tangents are fine, it’s the mellowing that bothers me. I’d prefer him to say one thing, then the next, etc. rather than saying one thing exceedingly slowly.

      I can’t comment on the philosophy yet.

Comments are closed.