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 The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo - group read.

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PostSubject: The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo - group read.   Tue Sep 22, 2009 11:21 am

Well, here we are at October's (basically) group read. If you are about to make a post, please state which chapter you are speaking of, so we can help others not to accidentally read spoilers.
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PostSubject: Re: The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo - group read.   Tue Sep 22, 2009 11:46 am

So, has anyone ever read Victor Hugo before? I've read Les Mis, but I would like to reread it sometime soon.
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PostSubject: Re: The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo - group read.   Tue Sep 22, 2009 5:41 pm

I've read Les Mis several times and am planning on rereading it sometime soon. It's one of my favorite books. I also read Hunchback in eighth grade, and need to reread it. Hence, group read.
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PostSubject: Re: The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo - group read.   Tue Sep 22, 2009 10:52 pm

Les Mis might be my favorite book. I just hope Hunchback is as good. Tomorrow, I'll finally get the book.
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PostSubject: Re: The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo - group read.   Thu Sep 24, 2009 12:24 pm

I have started Hunchback, and am about 20 pages into it. Now, my edition (Bantam), the only one I could find, has 366 pages, though the text is small and compact. On Goodreads, the book is listed as 512 pages (Signet). I take it that whoever translates this book abridges it to their heart's content, or to the publisher's specifications. Either way, I am going to continue with my edition and hope that I'm not missing out on too much.

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PostSubject: Re: The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo - group read.   Fri Sep 25, 2009 2:10 am

I'm at chapter 6 already. That is, I have finished CH 6.

I think it's great so far. I love the description of Quasimodo and the thoughts that run through that mildly psychotic playwright's brain. But Victor Hugo seems to wax lyrical on the architecture, which is a bit dry.

Paul, are you reading an abridged version? I hope not!
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PostSubject: Re: The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo - group read.   Fri Sep 25, 2009 11:10 am

I'm thinking Hugo must have some sort of architectural background, because in addition to his description of buildings he also describes faces as "hexagonal, pentagonal, heteroclite" and "tetrahedron".

So far I am enjoying the story. It may be abridged, I'm not sure. I'll have to take a closer look. But it was the only copy I could find, and I guess I'll stick with it.

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PostSubject: Re: The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo - group read.   Fri Sep 25, 2009 9:16 pm

I just realized that my own copy is abridged. I'm going to buy the full version tomorrow hopefully, but I couldn't read the book knowing I might be missing out on something, even if there is only a slight difference.
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PostSubject: Re: The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo - group read.   Sat Sep 26, 2009 5:07 am

Jane wrote:
I just realized that my own copy is abridged. I'm going to buy the full version tomorrow hopefully, but I couldn't read the book knowing I might be missing out on something, even if there is only a slight difference.

I KNOW! I hate missing out on whatever literary genius some dweeb saw fit to edit out. Where are the rest of our buddy readers? I'm already halfway through!
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PostSubject: Re: The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo - group read.   Sat Sep 26, 2009 9:50 pm

Some of the buddy readers may be overwhelmed with school work or other activities at the moment. Because of this, and because some of us unfortunately ended up with abridged editions without initially realizing it, I suggest we slow this down a bit and allow others an opportunity to catch up.

I will say that, so far (even with a damned abridged edition, which was the only copy I could find), the writing is not as stuffy and formal as, say, a Dickens story. This could in part be because of the translation, but I am finding elements of humor that I wasn't expecting, and I think this is pure Hugo.

I will continue to look for an unabridged edition.

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PostSubject: Re: The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo - group read.   Sun Sep 27, 2009 1:07 am

Paul wrote:
Some of the buddy readers may be overwhelmed with school work or other activities at the moment. Because of this, and because some of us unfortunately ended up with abridged editions without initially realizing it, I suggest we slow this down a bit and allow others an opportunity to catch up.

I will say that, so far (even with a damned abridged edition, which was the only copy I could find), the writing is not as stuffy and formal as, say, a Dickens story. This could in part be because of the translation, but I am finding elements of humor that I wasn't expecting, and I think this is pure Hugo.

I will continue to look for an unabridged edition.

It really would be lovely if we could slow down for a little while. I didn't realize how different the two versions would be, and I've had to start all over. Give me a day or two, and I'll work my way to where everyone else is. Which is...where, exactly?
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PostSubject: Re: The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo - group read.   Sun Sep 27, 2009 2:12 am

I've been preoccupied with school, so I'm only a few pages into the book. I'm comfortable with slowing down, and the group read will probably be improved if we do. Reading the book in a few days and then discussing it afterward is an abrupt way of doing things.
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PostSubject: Re: The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo - group read.   Sun Sep 27, 2009 12:05 pm

I'm fine with slowing down. Just let me know where you are at so I can share/comment on your reactions. If you want to know ... I'm done. Yeah. I can't stop once I start.
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PostSubject: Re: The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo - group read.   Tue Sep 29, 2009 2:58 am

So, for everyone who hasn't finished yet, where are you? What do you think of the book so far?
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PostSubject: Re: The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo - group read.   Tue Sep 29, 2009 10:58 am

I am about a third of the way through. The character of Phoebus has just been properly introduced. I have never read Hugo before, and I must admit I am surprised at the humor he shows. I have laughed more than once since I started the book.

Yet he can also be serious and poignant. He makes the reader feel for Quasimodo, and you have the feeling that his descriptions of Parisian society in the Middle Ages is spot on. People are so miserable and jaded that they actually look forward to public floggings and executions, just to forget their own misery for a while. They turn those events into family outings.

So far it is a very good read.

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PostSubject: Re: The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo - group read.   Tue Sep 29, 2009 11:34 am

I adore the book, now that I'm done for awhile and can look objectively. I won't spoil it for you guys, so I'll let you know my feelings on the end once you're done.
Hugo's obsession with architecture REALLY gets on my nerves. foulmouth foulmouth But I love his character descriptions. Quasimodo is ... wow. Probably my new favourite protagonist.
Esmeralda seems to me to be a much weaker character than in the film. Don't get me wrong, she's cute and loving and all, but seems to get intimidated easily. She doesn't jive at all with Demi Moore's spirited gypsy. And Phoebus ... let me just say, guys SUCK!
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And yes, sigh, there are exceptions to the rule.
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PostSubject: Re: The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo - group read.   Tue Sep 29, 2009 3:10 pm

Hmmm. I cannot say this will become one of my favourites yet. I've read about fourty pages, and I still wonder when it will pick up. So... when does it pick up?

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PostSubject: Re: The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo - group read.   Tue Sep 29, 2009 8:23 pm

Laura wrote:
Hmmm. I cannot say this will become one of my favourites yet. I've read about fourty pages, and I still wonder when it will pick up. So... when does it pick up?

I've read about the same amount, and I've been wondering the same. I'm used to being hooked quicker than this.
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PostSubject: Re: The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo - group read.   Tue Sep 29, 2009 9:08 pm

Tigermilk wrote:
Laura wrote:
Hmmm. I cannot say this will become one of my favourites yet. I've read about fourty pages, and I still wonder when it will pick up. So... when does it pick up?

I've read about the same amount, and I've been wondering the same. I'm used to being hooked quicker than this.

Maybe my abridged edition is a blessing in disguise, after all. There was some mention of architecture, but not the vast amounts I have heard others describe. My edition went right into the play that backfires and Quasimodo being chosen as the Pope of Fools. I would like to check out the unabridged edition, but if most of what I'm missing is a lot of dry, irrelevant material, I'll stick with what I have for now. For me, the story is moving right along.

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PostSubject: Re: The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo - group read.   Wed Sep 30, 2009 1:51 am

Paul wrote:
Tigermilk wrote:
Laura wrote:
Hmmm. I cannot say this will become one of my favourites yet. I've read about fourty pages, and I still wonder when it will pick up. So... when does it pick up?

I've read about the same amount, and I've been wondering the same. I'm used to being hooked quicker than this.

Maybe my abridged edition is a blessing in disguise, after all. There was some mention of architecture, but not the vast amounts I have heard others describe. My edition went right into the play that backfires and Quasimodo being chosen as the Pope of Fools. I would like to check out the unabridged edition, but if most of what I'm missing is a lot of dry, irrelevant material, I'll stick with what I have for now. For me, the story is moving right along.

I don't believe I have an abridged edition, so I suppose that explains why I haven't even met Quasimodo yet. The story will be better once I do, though; I'll just stick it out until then.
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PostSubject: Re: The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo - group read.   Wed Sep 30, 2009 7:41 am

[quote="Tigermilk"]
Paul wrote:
Tigermilk wrote:
Laura wrote:
Hmmm. I cannot say this will become one of my favourites yet. I've read about fourty pages, and I still wonder when it will pick up. So... when does it pick up?

I've read about the same amount, and I've been wondering the same. I'm used to being hooked quicker than this.

Maybe my abridged edition is a blessing in disguise, after all. There was some mention of architecture, but not the vast amounts I have heard others describe. My edition went right into the play that backfires and Quasimodo being chosen as the Pope of Fools. I would like to check out the unabridged edition, but if most of what I'm missing is a lot of dry, irrelevant material, I'll stick with what I have for now. For me, the story is moving right along.

I don't believe I have an abridged edition, so I suppose that explains why I haven't even met Quasimodo yet. The story will be better once I do, though; I'll just stick it out until then.[/quote

Lucky you, Paul!
For everyone, you meet Quasi in chapter 5. You may want to start at chapter four for a bit of background. The French public in that era is so fickle!
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PostSubject: Re: The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo - group read.   Wed Sep 30, 2009 10:58 am

For me, the book starts at the Great Hall of the Palace of Justice, where Pierre Gringoire's play is set to entertain a delegation from Flanders and, unavoidably, the mass of people waiting outside, looking for entertainment. The delegation, along with the cardinal who is escorting them, is late, and the crowd is getting impatient. The crowd is egged on by Jehan Frollo, the brother of the archdeacon.

In my edition, Quasimodo shows up in Chapter 4.

I imagine, unless you are reading this in its original French, you are at the mercy of whoever is translating it. My edition is published by Bantam, and is translated and abridged by Lowell Bair.

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PostSubject: Re: The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo - group read.   Wed Sep 30, 2009 11:45 am

Like I said, Paul. Thou are very fortunate. I had to wade through a chapter and a half of architecture description. Mad
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PostSubject: Re: The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo - group read.   Thu Oct 01, 2009 5:14 pm

It is occuring to me as I read this that, except for Quasimodo, there isn't a single character here that is worth rooting for. The men are all cads and fools, and the women all seem to be shallow and insipid. Perhaps it was Hugo's intent to show that the character who is physically deformed is also the only one with an ounce of spiritual integrity.

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PostSubject: Re: The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo - group read.   Thu Oct 01, 2009 9:46 pm

Paul wrote:
It is occuring to me as I read this that, except for Quasimodo, there isn't a single character here that is worth rooting for. The men are all cads and fools, and the women all seem to be shallow and insipid. Perhaps it was Hugo's intent to show that the character who is physically deformed is also the only one with an ounce of spiritual integrity.

I agree - the old way of showing that outside beauty doesn't count etc.

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