Friday, 22 March 2013

Making myself miserable?

Imagining Hugh Jackman as Valjean is making the
experience a whole lot less miserable

Do you remember when I concluded that life is too short to read Proust?

Turns out, where le vieux Marcel failed, the venerable Monsieur Hugo has triumphed. As with Proust, I managed to avoid Victor Hugo at university. How? I did read Madame Bovary about five times, finally deciding on the fifth read that it was indeed a splendid novel.

Anyway, at the beginning of this year Jen told me she had decided to embark upon Les Misérables for 2013 because it is her husband Simon's favourite book. Strangely enough I had also been considering attempting Les Mis, well, not that strange, the release of the recent musical film had brought the book back to my attention.  So with Jen as a cross-atlantic reading buddy I decided to take the plunge.  Or several little plunges.  The book is divided into five volumes and, like Jen, I am going to alternate Hugo with other reading matter.

I also took my time taking the plunge and have only just started.  But 200 pages in, so far so good.  Which is strange because the first 100 pages do little other than go on about the saintly qualities of a local bishop.  And yet, even given this unpromising start and hitting the wall of 19th century French prose for the first time in more years than I care to remember, it is strangely compelling.  There is a wry sense of humour, which I didn't expect, and a rousingly passionate conviction, which I did.

I would like to point out that I have not gone into this enterprise unprepared.  When I was in Paris visiting Michaela we took a trip into the sewers, where I am reliably informed I will have to spend 100 or so pages of the book.

Jen, courage my reading buddy, we can do it!

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you are enjoying your Hugo journey, so am I. I keep thinking of Valjean as looking like Hugh...sigh!


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