February 29, 2012

Book: The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

Filed under: Books — Tags: , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 8:24 pm

The story of Edward Dantes, a story of betrayal and of revenge. Reading it today, it reads like a cliché borrowed from Hollywood movies until you pause to realise that the Hollywood movies borrowed the idea from Dumas and turned it into the cliché that it is now! It is a Classic with an accent on tight, racy storytelling rather than any accent on descriptions or on emotions. Dumas was the Sydney Sheldon of the Classic writers in that sense.  The fact that the story has frequent cliff hangers may have something to do with the fact that the story was first written for the weeklies, as I hear. You want to leave the reader wanting to read the next chapter every week, right?

The story of Edmond Dantes and his love for Mercedes, the Catalan heroine, and the story of his being framed is told in a very racy style against the backdrop of French history (Napoleon’s rise to power and exile, the July revolution that restored another branch of monarchy etc.). His prison accounts and escape are also interesting. The story fumbles and drags a bit – only a bit – in the descriptions of the sons of Danglars, and the later lives of the villains, until the revenge takes place almost towards the end of the book. The other main complaint that I have is that the middle section of this rather big volume is simply devoted to eulogising the Count in superhuman terms. For all that, it is a different kind of Classic and in modern parlance, would be described as “can’t be put down once you start it”, with a few notable exceptions midstream! – I will award it a 7/10

— Krishna


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