Saturday, January 06, 2007

Esmeralda needs a knock on the head

Just finished reading The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo.

I had never before read this 19th-century classic - one highly recommended by friends and colleagues. The novel begins on a tedious note but picks up pace after the first 100 pages. Set in the Middle Ages, it tells the story of Quasimodo, a grotesquely deformed bellringer at the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris, who falls in love with a beautiful gypsy girl, Esmeralda.

The story ends tragically - perhaps because of one fatal mistake made by Esmeralda when she meets her long-lost mother. She cries out the name of her beloved causing the king's guards to discover her hiding place. Well, Esmeralda certainly has to be the dumbest heroine in English literature (next to Dora in David Copperfield) and she surely deserves a knock on the head.

Rating: ****
Remarks: Be prepared for long chapters on architecture in Paris. And of course get yourself some 'happy' stuff to read or watch after this because the tragic ending might just leave you down in the dumps.

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