Saturday, October 5, 2013

31 Days of Books: The Count of Monte Cristo

I was working on a different review this morning until I wrote today's date: the Fifth of October.  And the Fifth of October is Alexandre Dumas day, so The Count got bumped up.  
Due to several significant events in the novel, particularly the final event, the closing chapter is entitled "The Fifth of October."  
Also, I've decided one more piece of criteria for these reviews: an interesting fact.  [I'm hoping to go back and add this to the last several posts.]

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Title:  The Count of Monte Cristo

Author:  Alexandre Dumas

Published:  1844

Year I read it:  2005

One sentence summary:  The classic story of Edmond Dantes: poised for success before being falsely accused, losing everything, and becoming bent on revenge before discovering the triumph of forgiveness & redemption.

Three reasons to read it:

  • A books closing lines are some of the most important words & a few books I've read absolutely excel (Tale of Two Cities, Return of the King, etc), but, for me, none can yet compare to The Count of Monte Cristo! [Hence, the title of my blog.] 
  • A great author must succeed in plot, character, and style and, in my opinion, Dumas hits a grand slam!  The characters are universal, the plot unforgettable, and his style is sentimental enough to make me very happy.
  • For being 1,500 pages, it hardly stalls.  I've read books 1/5 its length that felt longer.  There is so much action in this story it, quite literarily, approaches the proper standards of being "epic."

One reason you maybe shouldn't: 

  • It's length - it did take me 3 months, since it overlapped with school.  If you think you couldn't possibly conquer something that long,  this is one of the rare occasions I would recommend an abridged.  I read the Bantam abridged a year or so before reading the full edition, and it was quite good.
Interesting fact:
  • Dumas entitled all 117  chapters.

Great quote:

[Warning: The only quote I'm sharing comes from the last chapter, and only because I'm presuming most people know the general premise of the novel.  If you don't want to read it, that's fine.  If you do, know the context is in a letter from the Count to a dear friend.]

Tell the angel who will watch over your future destiny to pray sometimes for a man who, like Satan, thought himself, for an instant, equal to God; but who now acknowledges with Christian humility, that God alone possesses supreme power and infinite wisdom.  Perhaps those prayers may soften the remorse he feels in his heart...There is neither happiness nor misery in the world; there is only the comparison of one state with another, nothing more.  He who has felt the deepest grief is best able to experience supreme happiness.  We must have felt what it is to die, that we may appreciate the enjoyments of life.Live, then, and be happy, and never forget, that until the day when God will deign to reveal the future to man, all human wisdom is contained in these two words -- "Wait and hope."

1 comment:

  1. One of my favorite books for sure! Definitely a must read for everyone, I think! ;) And the ending of the book, the best! I love those last lines, so much!