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Tonight's thoughts on Les Miserables

People in the 19th century liked their books big. Brevity was not the object of such fawning appreciation then, as it is now. You pick up this book, or some Dickens, or Melville, and you just have to settle in for a long ride.

Tonight I am about a quarter of the way in. Most of the people in the story have met, and are beginning to interact.

He is describing the site of Waterloo-- now years after the war, abandoned and ruined. Spooky. He must have spoken to old men who were there.

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( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
provencepuss
Mar. 9th, 2014 06:58 am (UTC)
He must have spoken to old men who were there.

Very likely.

so glad you're enjoying the book. Have you ever read Upton Sinclair's review of it?
eglantine_br
Mar. 9th, 2014 04:39 pm (UTC)
I have not read Sinclair's review. He seems the perfect person to review it though. The Jungle could be that book's grandchild.
ba1126
Mar. 9th, 2014 03:16 pm (UTC)
I guess you have more patience than I do. I tried to read War and Peace. I slogged through about a third, with nothing much happening and no characters I particularly cared about. I gave up.

I love to read murder mysteries. The series I am reading now has a 20-something girl and her sister and they run a bakery and they stumble across 'mysteries' that her policeman boyfriend is trying to solve.
eglantine_br
Mar. 9th, 2014 04:37 pm (UTC)
Oh, I cannot read War and Peace either. Hopeless at it-- even though I would love to read the part about Boradino. I have never made it to chaper 3!

And I love mysteries too. I never know who the criminal is.
ba1126
Mar. 10th, 2014 05:50 pm (UTC)
This series is by Jonne Fluke. They are 'light', not grisly or gory. AND, they give you recipes for cookies made in their bakery!!
vespican
Mar. 9th, 2014 05:58 pm (UTC)
I've heard that many writers of that age were paid by the word. The longer the story, the bigger the paycheck!
Dave
eglantine_br
Mar. 9th, 2014 09:30 pm (UTC)
Yes. I have heard that too. But Hugo is a surprisingly tight writer. He has long descriptions of a ton of people, but everything is for a reason. There are no loose ends. He must have made a tremendous spreadsheet, to keep the pattern straight!
wordsofastory
Mar. 9th, 2014 06:20 pm (UTC)
I've heard that many people in the 19th century read novels aloud to their families. A bit like watching your favorite TV show every night after dinner- you read a chapter or so a day, and don't have any need to finish it off soon.
eglantine_br
Mar. 9th, 2014 09:30 pm (UTC)
This would be an ideal book for that treatment.
anteros_lmc
Mar. 9th, 2014 06:26 pm (UTC)
I generally love long books but I confess I have never felt the urge to pick up Les Mis. I'm sure I'd probably enjoy it if I did ever get round to reading it but....

And talking of long books, do you remember Basil Hall writing to Dickens about reading his serialised novels to his family?
eglantine_br
Mar. 9th, 2014 09:33 pm (UTC)
I am imagining Dickens and Basil Hall going for a long walk together. They would have gotten along like a house on fire!

(I challenge anyone not to love Basil Hall!)
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )