Finished. Finally. About three years, 1,500 pages and 26 sticky notes later, I have finished “Les Miserables” by Victor Hugo.
Quite an accomplishment. Books don’t normally take me three years to read, maybe a few weeks at the most. But “Les Mis” was a struggle. It’s long, very richly written and not the type of book you can pick up and read for just a few minutes. When reading it I needed to be able to commit at least an hour or more of my time. And I also very often got distracted by other, shorter and easier books.
But all that aside, it was a wonderful book. Hugo is an artist, and his main instrument is words. His prose is lofty, but beautiful. I marked up more than 20 pages with quotes I loved, many more than I usually flag. And when I set it down, the characters and story stayed with me. A lot of the book is slogging through unnecessary detail and history lessons, but the story is a marvelous one.
Now I’m all set to see the star-studded film version that will open in theaters around Christmas. The musical is different from the book, but I guess it must be otherwise it would be days, not three hours, long. I don’t have huge expectations for the movie — but I hope it potrays the beauty of Hugo’s writing and characters well.