Monday, September 14, 2015

Book 5 of 2015 (Volume II) -- Les Miserables

I find myself wondering what a modern editor would do if this book landed on her desk.  Because there are whole sections that appear (at best) tangentially related to the plot line.

THis volume (8 books) began with an extended description of the battle of Waterloo. And only at the end does this link to the story thus far.  At the very end of the battle, after the battle in fact, we are introduced to one of those scavenging vultures that appear on a battlefield, stealing anything of value from the dead.  His name? Thenardier.

Then we read about the life the child Cossette is forced to live. Then we read about Valjean's second escape from the galleys and his appearance in Cossette's life.  He ransoms her and they go to Paris.

The remainder of the book is about another escape.  Javert has found Valjean, but waits too long to make his move and Valjean leads Cossette to safety.  Then we have another excursus.  Valjean inadvertently finds refuge in the grounds of a convent.  But instead of just telling us that Hugo goes into great detail about the convent and the life of those within.  Then a whole book wherein the narrator rants about the value (or the lack thereof) of the monastic life.

When the Volume closes we learn that Valjean, having met an old friend who is the gardener for the convent, finds a refuge where he can stay hidden and Cossette can become a student at the boarding school run by the sisters.  The volume ends with a comment that Cossette grows up....

Volume III is next--it is titled Marius.