Saturday, November 19, 2016

Book review #5

     I will try to write this review so that it will be about the book itself and not about the only fictional character that I have ever fell in love with  (fortunately, up to this point, no fictional character impressed me so much so that I spend countless hours thinking about him!)

     I don’t know what Victor Hugo did, but it is certain that his talent made me irrevocably fall in love not only with the character I was talking about but also with his magnum opus - Les Miserables. At first I thought it would be quite useless to extoll this book since I suppose everyone is already aware of its place in literature, why would I write about it too? I tried to restrain myself, I swear, but I couldn’t help it, especially after I watched the musical from 2012, with its perfect cast and flawless soundtrack which became my favorite movie ever after half an hour..

     Hugo's novel is a fresco of the French society - deplorable in the nineteenth century. Or, partly deplorable since there still were people who worn with pride their virtues. The narrator follows Jean Valjean and describes all the injustices which Providence has condemned him to and which he swallows with an inexplicable inner strength. Hugo makes a very detailed portrait not only of Valjean, but of majority of the characters. Thus all, without exception, come to life and suddenly you are no longer reading a book, but watching a disturbingly poetic movie.

     The well-known Cosette and Gavroche appear as well, and personally, I prefer the latter. This child, an emblem not only of the Parisian dirt, but also of childhood that, despite the fact that it lost its righteousness, is still remarkably endearing.

     Hugo talks a lot about history and includes all events in a broader context, so that you can learn a brief history of France from 1789 until about 1848. Besides being an intellectual, Hugo really has some magic in the tip of his pen. He takes you to despair, makes you cry, sometimes even smile or laugh, you live according to his words. You even get to love Javert.. Hardly, though.

     Now I can not postpone, I have to talk about him. The wonderful leader of the uprising from 1832, the son of Liberty, Justice’s loyal soldier, my new ideal: Enjolras. Described as a handsome young man, of childish beauty, but with a heroic, courageous and determined soul, he motivates the revolutionaries in such a way that you immeasurably admire him and even shout along with him "Vive la France”. I am deeply in love with him – with no exaggeration – due to his personality, ideal and words, for how he died and what he meant for the revolution. I dream of him, ok? Frequently!

     In any case, I believe that life is a waste of time if you do not read Les Miserables at least once. Stop reading insignificant books, give classical literature a chance because at least the French literature will not disappoint you. Moreover, your standards in terms of reading (after Les Miserables) will get considerably higher.

     What any other masterpieces would you recommend? 

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Maira Gall