100 Book Challenge: # 68 Miscreated


04 October 2017

The idea of ​​the novel from the life of the lower classes, the victims of social injustice, arose in [Victor Hugo] at the beginning of his creative career. Having learned in 1823 that his friend Gaspard de Pope will be passing through Toulon, he asks him to collect information about the life of convicts. By the beginning of 1830, Hugo began to imagine the outlines of the future novel and sketched the beginning of the preface to it. The first edition of the book “Les Miserables” which appeared at the beginning of 1862, dispersed lightning: in two days the entire print run was sold – seven thousand copies.

# 68: Les Misérables

“Les Miserables” is definitely that book that you need to read in your life. Let this reading not always turn out to be simple and pleasant, because the historical background in the form of the French revolution, as well as numerous historical information, clarifications and reflections of the author about almost everything in the world, will be added to the main plot, endless reminders of characters serving only extras, philosophical arguments, etc. But if not here, then where else can you assess in full, what does it mean to be a writer? Not just a man who can pick up beautiful and correct words, but thinks through the concept of the novel, which can make the reader to empathize with the characters and desire to reckon with the villains who diligently describe the characters and way of life that influences them, be attentive to the insignificant details for which it is necessary to raise historical archives and topographic maps. Although this is the meticulousness of Victor Hugo I was most tired.

I could still come to terms with the detailed description of the Battle of Waterloo. I’m not so interested in the history of France to listen to the tedious lecture on the Bonapartists, but since the theme of the French Revolution affects the fate of the main characters, it was not superfluous to understand at least the essence of the conflict of Marius and his grandfather Zhilmonman. But to read a few chapters about the Order of the Bernadine Benedictines, its history of origin, customs, rituals and the fate of the nunnery sisters only for the sake of the fact that Jean Valjean will stay there only a few pages – that’s all right. Well, I understand that the expression “brevity – the sister of talent” was invented explicitly by those who canceled row payment to writers. But it’s a pity that it did not concern Dumas, Hugo and Eugene Sue. I was angry when I had to read a historical summary about the canalization of Paris, although it was enough for me to know who was there and with whom I met. All the rest does not concern me, or the main characters, but only enriches the purse of the author.

Even more I got angry, because the book would have been much better, if there had not been these long digressions. To her God, even tear out extra pages with her own hands. And the plot would be at times more interesting, and the book would be easier to keep in hands. This is as annoying as the obsessive advertising when watching an interesting film. But nevertheless, my language will not turn to call the book bad or boring, because some parts flew in one breath. Particularly I liked the first part about the fate of Fantina and the painful childhood of Cosetta. Of course, raising social issues such as prejudices of the past, injustice towards one’s neighbor, poverty, speculate on the sentimentality of readers, evoking a response in the soul. Surely many readers were wondering if she was doing the right thing, wanting a better daughter for her daughter. But I think no one has the right to condemn her, because fate has not forgiven her fatal mistake. This exorbitant payment makes no sense any condemnation.

I am generally impressed by everyday realism about the life of the lower strata of society. At a minimum, this makes you appreciate what you have, what many do not have, and do not grumble at your burden. The adventure line with the chases and intrigues of the villains was very much like “Paris secrets”. I think that the success of the novel by Eugene Xu still affected both the image of the Earl of Monte Cristo, and of Jean Valjean. Honest and fair heroes with a small wormhole turned out to be commercially viable. In principle, I have nothing against the metamorphosis of a convict who has set foot on the righteous path after he was first shown kindness. But I did not like the image of an adult Cosette. If the girl had so many hardships as a child, I would like to see that these tests made her wise and wise, and not a spoiled little fool with cutesy gestures. Although Marius suits his beloved. The same enthusiastic, suspicious and self-centered universe. Anyway. We write this down to the youth of the heroes and the riot of hormones. In general, the novel could be cut in half, removing friends of the ABC and other lyrical digressions. The story of Jean Valjean is already full of events. From this, the book would only get better.


No one is following the actions of others as jealously as those whom these actions concern least.

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Higher happiness of life is the belief that you are loved; love for yourself, or rather say – like against you.

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If you can imagine something more terrible than hell, where people suffer, then this is hell, where they are bored.

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Laughter is the sun: it drives away the winter from the human face.

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The first sign of true love in a young man is shyness, a young girl has the courage.

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