Monday, June 29, 2009

The Count of Monte Cristo -- Book Review

This month for the 1% Well-Read Challenge, I was working my way through Snow by Orhan Pamuk when I became completely captured by The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas which is also on my list for this year...

The Count of Monte Cristo is over 1,000 pages long and I knew I was going to need at least two months lead time to get through it, so I began in June hoping to end by July. I had ordered it from Audible to listen to the audiobook and it has been an incredible recording and narrative.

OK, so, why I did not know that this amazing story existed, I will never know. I have read two other Dumas works...The Three Musketeers and The Man in the Iron Mask, both which were made into movies. I was an English minor in college and if I hadn't read many works of literature, I was at least aware of them... My only guess as to why this book was never assigned in school is because of its length? But, boy oh boy, when I get a really good book like this one, I don't even notice the length...or the laundry... Now that it's over, I wish it had been 2,000 pages...

The story is set in France, Italy and the islands of the Mediterranean between 1815-1838. On the eve of his betrothal, our main character Edmund Dantés, is wrongly accused of treason and sentenced to life imprisonment -- all caused by the combination of actions of three men who, acting in their own self interests, have little concern that they've ended the career, marriage and life of an innocent man. The book concerns itself with the suffering and hope of Edmund who is whisked away to a dungeon where he spends the next fourteen years in isolation while the men who placed him there live on in the real world, becoming successful through less-than honorable practices...

I really don't want to tell you what happens at all because you MUST read it. It's written as an adventure story and deals with hope, justice, vengeance, love, mercy and death...all good elements of a great novel.

IMHO, this book is in a league of its own. It's one of the greatest novels I've ever read. And my sister and my husband both agree.

I highly recommend the audiobook which I was also able to find at the library on CD for my husband...it's over 53 hours of listening but the narrator does a great job of acting the voices and pronouncing all of the foreign names....the characters are all interwoven and connected throughout the plot which is also made easier to follow by the audiobook.

I didn't have trouble with this at all, but should you be the type that gets confused by who is whom...wikipedia has a character chart here...

What can I say other than it was a GREAT GREAT book. Please let me know if you have read it or if you read it as a result of this review; I'd like to hear if you agree. I also found out that the novel has been adapted to many screen versions, including several films, numerous TV series and an anime series. It has been estimated that this story has been filmed once every eighteen months from 1920 on...and even had a TV miniseries in 1998 starring Gérard Depardieu...

I guess I've been living under a rock...a rock the size of the island of Monte Cristo....

Next month, I'll tell you about Snow by Orhan Pamuk...

Editor's Note: The accented "e"s of this post would not be possible without Gina of Threads of a Tatting Goddess, to whom my written French is forever grateful...

10 comments:

Possibilities, Etc. said...

I read it in high school, and it is, indeed, magnificent - one of those you hate to have end. You make me want to read it again. Also extremely enjoyable is to read a book in it's native language. I read Don Quixote in Spanish in college, and recently, Love in the Time of Cholera - beautiful prose. Literature is a wonderful thing.

Gina said...

Oh my...there I was, reading along, trying to remember if that was one of the books I read as a child from this huge collection of classics my parents picked up at an auction - I can see the title and the gold edged pages, but I think I did not read it, at least not all the way through. The print was so tiny in those books. But I may have seen the movie. And then I see your lovely comment about me. Thank you! And I think I will check with my library to see if they have it on CD. I love to read but barely get through one book a year these days and I already read one. LOL!

Vicki W said...

I do all of my reading through audiobooks and try to make a point of reading a classic occasionally - my education wasn't so great on the literature side. I will never forget reading this book. All through I commented to everyone I met that I couldn't believe that I had never heard anyone recommend this book. From that moment it became my favorite book and it still is. It is a magnificent piece of literature. They can keep Proust. I couldn't wade through that meaningless crap.

Marty52 said...

Well... of course I have heard of this book but I've never read it. I do believe I may have to rectify that little oversight. Thanks so much for the recommendation!

TattingChic said...

Man, it's been ages since I've read this! I read it in AP English in High School. I developed a love for classic novels then. I haven't kept up with it, though!

Mary Timme said...

I haven't read this book either and have wondered if I should. Dumas was talked about, but we didn't have to read him in college or hs. I'll have to get it and read. Ah! Such evil in the world. yep, now I'll have to read it.

Heather J. said...

I haven't read it (yet) but I do plan to (eventually). I'm still working on Gone With The Wind so another big book is just going to have to wait. :)

Maureen said...

After reading this, I immediately logged onto our library page and reserved a copy. Surprisingly, there were 5 holds. I guess there are other locals reading your blog! I did read Capt. Correlli's Mandolin on your recommendation and loved it.
You are such a well rounded and knowledgeable individual with whom I am proud to be acquainted.
Thanks for this.

Elizabeth Braun said...

Mmm, must add this one to the future reading list then. I usually don't pay much attention to the 1& W-R reading list as it's very lop-sided, (mostly 20C novels, getting ever more contemporary and deleting the older works which I love), but this one looks worth the time. Thanks for the recommendation!=)

Balwearie said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed this novel! Dumas has always been one of my favourites. You ought to try Isable Allende's "Zorro" if you've not read that already. Also, the movie of C of M C done in 2002 with James Caviezel is quite good. It's very lush -- great for a big screen TV.

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