Mellowcat was scanning the bookshelves for an entertaining read, and the Resident Expert recommended Les Misérables. RE has read all these great books already, but the Mellowcat hasn’t quite gotten around to them. So I grabbed our copy and dove right in. The thing is huge, as you know. RE continued to recommend it to me after I started reading, which would normally be weird but in this case not so. You could be 200 pages into it and still be considered to be browsing. Good call on the recommendation though; this falls squarely into the ‘boy’s adventure story’ class of literature that I favor. The author describes the Waterloo battle in a fair amount of detail, and at one point talks about walking the battle field years later, and finding a farmhouse well that’s filled with hundreds of skeletons. You just have to keep reading the rest of the book after that, to see if he comes up more stuff in that literary subclass (boy’s adventure story with unexpected skeletons). Of course, there are some sections where the action lets up a bit. He gets into the nuts and bolts of operating a secluded convent of an obscure order of nuns, which will be of interest mainly to convent operators. And in another section he goes on at length describing the leadership attributes of Louis Philippe I. It reads like an unusually verbose performance evaluation. But then you get a description of some Paris street urchins hiding in a giant, decrepit elephant statue during a violent nighttime thunderstorm, where they have to stay inside a wire cage (inside the ‘body’ of the elephant) so they won’t be eaten by rats. Not exciting enough? OK, then let’s have one of the urchins leave the elephant in the middle of the night to help a guy escape from prison.
I’m still reading it, so don’t tell me how it ends.