Misérables, Les

Okay, first off. I read this edition. I will try to keep this short as the others, but this work was intense. I also realised too late that it is tome 1, so like Kristin Lavrandatter, I will be revisiting this again. Actually, like most of them, I will be revisiting again. This was a great challenge, but I have not given myself enough time to full enjoy the novels, I fear.

It is as intense as expected. I missed a lot as I did not have time to go through all the words with which I am not familiar. I, however, greatly enjoyed the parts which I did understand.

  1. The intensity of the characterisation for people whom I thought were minor characters. The bishop, for instance, in the first few scenes of every rendition, is actually in the novel for a good portion of the first tome.
  2. The layers of humanity are beautiful (Valjean steals out of habit instead of need)
  3. That forgiveness is earned, and not freely given.
  4. That we all yearn for ourselves.

Fantine is a goddess of sorrow. Her rise, and her fall are heart-wrenching. She is the one who simply wanted to care for her life, but was denied that due to her social status, and her sex. We all know this if we have seen a version of the novel; however, the words seem to come out of a woman’s mouth in print. I know that sounds weird as I am a man, and the author was a man; nonetheless, I felt each character’s voice was separate.

Javert is a twat as always. I have no pity for him. I know that the argument is he is raised in a world, and behaves as that world demands which is the whole point of the novel; however, I can bring myself to feel pity for him. I hope in later tomes that he will have a shred of honour.

The world is a different one for me. I do not know enough of France in that time period, so I think that I missed the social structure cues. I did like how they count differently, and even messaged my professor about it. Apparently it is how her grandmother would count. It made me happy to see the language evolution within literature.

I felt empty — some would call it book depression, or book blue…I call it ‘not-being-emotionally-cut-off’ —, but in a good way. This was not I-am-dead-from-reading, but I-have-space-to-grow-from-reading.

I expected a major wreck afterwards, but I wanted more from life. I want to be better, so I can be worthy of a world where Fantine would not die.

Be safe. Be loved. Do not be a Javert.

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