At approximately four o’clock this afternoon (give or take an hour, since I don’t remember exactly what the time was), I finished reading The Count of Monte Cristo. I talked about my desire to read it last year and I’ve spent the last one-and-a-half months working on it, while reading some other stuff, too. It’s a heavy, complicated book so I needed some breaks now and then.
The final verdict is I loved it. I would highly recommend it—as long as you read the Robin Buss translation, which is the one I read. It’s the best one out there because it’s the most modern (the stilted Victorian language in the older ones is just not something you’ll want to deal with, trust me) and it has handy little footnotes. Dumas made reference to all sorts of random things: classical allusions that I assume an educated person in the nineteenth century would have known; stuff about life in the nineteenth century that you’d probably only know if you lived back then; and random weird stuff. The footnotes explain it all so you aren’t completely lost.
The ending was a bit surprising to me. Not so much the events themselves, but the message I feel the author was trying to send. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’ll leave any discussion of that out of this post.
I know the book is long, but it’s well worth the read. I usually read very quickly, so it was humbling to have to spend over a month reading something. I tried to read a couple chapters a day (most of them aren’t terribly long). There are one-hundred seventeen total in the book.
One of my favorite things I learned from the book, aside from getting a glimpse of what Parisian society was like in this era, came from the end, where there’s a chronology of Dumas’ life. In 1858, he moved to Russia. Some sources say he was there for over a year, while others say it was closer to nine months, but regardless, Dumas liked Russia enough to write travel guides about the place. Say what you want about the man—he certain had good taste in travel destinations.
Have you read any good classic works of literature lately? Let me know in the comments!