Instead, I just HAD to get Paris in July 2012 kicked off properly.
. Here's the thing about Victor Hugo: he liked the sound of his own (written) voice. A lot. The story is still compelling, there are still beautiful phrases, the work is still important, but - BUT - do we really need a 2-page chapter called "Deep Waters, Dark Shadows" which is just a 662-word extended metaphor about how trying to survive after being imprisoned is like drowning. It concludes with this:
O implacable march of human society! Destroying men and souls in its way! Ocean, repository of all that the law lets fall! Ominous disappearance of help! O moral death!
The sea is the inexorable night into which the penal code casts its victims. The sea is measureless misery.
The soul drifting in that sea may become a corpse. Who shall restore it to life? (95)That middle paragraph is there just in case you didn't get his point in the first 600 words.
Somehow, though, you learn to skim a little of the dense stuff, and the reading of it moves at a surprising clip. I'm hoping to get ahead of schedule and fit in something else Parisian this month.
Hugo more than makes up for the wordy bits with brilliant, concise turns like this (in describing Madame Thenardier):
People do not read stupidities with impunity. (154)Ain't it the truth?