Author: Victor Hugo
Year I read it: 2005
One sentence summary: Hugo's classic tale of love vs. list, inward vs. outward beauty, appearance vs. fact - the Hunchback of Notre-Dame tells the Gothic Romance of the detested hunchback Quasimodo, the mysterious Gypsy Esmerelda, the dark priest Claude Frolo, and of how all their lives interconnect.
Three reasons to read it:
- You can't beat Hugo's language - it's cadence, it's poignancy. His words just soar.
Through the eyes of several different characters in search of it, Hugo's fleshes out what love is and what it looks like.
- If you're not up for Les Miserables, try a 500-page Hugo. No, it's not the same. It's not as epic. But it is still amazing!
- Gorgeous ending!! Another fantastic - tragic, but fantastic - ending.
One reason you maybe shouldn't:
- "A Bird's Eye View of Paris." It's a chapter in the middle of the book with no characters and no dialogue - just a meticulous tour of 15th century Paris. I hate to admit this, but this is the first and only chapter from a classic that I've completely skipped. [désolé, Monsieur Hugo!]
“Nothing makes a man so adventurous as an empty pocket."
“Love is like a tree: it grows by itself, roots itself deeply in our being and continues to flourish over a heart in ruin. The inexplicable fact is that the blinder it is, the more tenacious it is. It is never stronger than when it is completely unreasonable.”
“Spira, spera." ["Breathe, hope."]