I suppose you could call me a Les Mis fan. I’ve seen the stage version of Les Misérables twice. I’ve seen the movie twice. I’ve watched the anniversary specials on PBS (the ones they show during fundraising months). I know the words to the big songs. I am deeply enthralled with the character of Jean Valjean. My heart breaks for Fantine. I laugh at and secretly adore watching the comic and grasping Thenardiers.
What I haven’t done is read the book by Victor Hugo. Perhaps it was the size – 1,222 pages of the “complete and unabridged” edition we have. Perhaps it was my wife telling me, as she read it, “There must be 300 pages describing the sewers of Paris. It goes on for page after page about the sewers.” Eewww. She surprised me when she said she loved the book.
Last year, I spotted a book at the local bookstore, and only saw the title on the spine first: The Novel of the Century by David Bellos. Ah, I thought, a book about David Copperfield, or Great Expectations, or Vanity Fair. Uh, no. It was subtitled “The Extraordinary Adventure of Les Misérables.” That book about sewers. Perhaps watching the movie version yet again would suffice; the sewer scene in the movie is the vastly abbreviated version of what the book contains.
To continue reading, please see my post today at Literary Life.