I never in a million years would have thought I would love this book! I never thought I would fall in love with Dantes! I never thought I would have so much anger, sadness, despair and happiness in this book! He had a woman he loved and was going to marry named Mercedes. Dantes gets to meet Abbe Faria, the mad man (so they say) in the cell next door. Abbe Faria thinks he's tunneling out to freedom but he made a miscalculation. But Dantes and Abbe devise a new plan and this takes some years to do all of this tunneling. Abbe Faria is also the one that opens Dantes eyes to who the culprits were that put him in jail. Abbe Faria also tells Dantes about tons of gold and jewels that he has hidden on the island of Monte Cristo. Dantes decided to leave then as he had nothing else to stay for and he put himself in Abbe Faria's place all wrapped up waiting to be buried. We go on to read of the tale of how Dantes gets to Monte Cristo and soon he is beyond rich and he is so smart and ready to get IT DONE! Dantes is also kind to all of the people that were kind to him or tried to help him while he was in jail. They even lost the Pharaon but Dantes brings him a new one without Morrel even knowing where the ship came from.
Not sure if this Penguin edition is, it's not the one i read. The other question: Dantes spends much of his life after prison seeking the people who tossed into the oubliette not to get revenge but to punish them. But I don't think he is ever able to know if he is just another man seeking to ruin other men, or if he is in fact the angel of god.
It brings in historical elements and combines them with a great set of fictional characters to make a very rich story. As for the second problem, it is my own personal taste that I love a good revenge story. I think it says something when a 1200+ page novel doesn't bore me for a second, and The Count of Monte Cristo never once dragged as it took me through a plot spanning many years. My one complaint is the direction Dantes' romantic life took in the end, but whatever, there are over a thousand pages of awesomeness here and if you have the time to spare for this book/doorstopper/possible murder weapon, you should definitely read it.
I mean seriously, I was about a hundred pages in and I wanted to go find my freshman high school English teacher and inflict terrible, intricate revenge on her for depriving me of a great book. Seriously, this was an awesome book.
The unabridged is great because it has everything as Dumas wanted it, but it does require quite a bit of commitment. Final judgement: A must for those who want to read all the classics, but probably a bit much for the causal reader.
"all human wisdom is contained in these two words: 'wait' and 'hope'!" My initial thoughts while staring at this behemoth of a novel were 1) I am going to be reading something very, very descriptive like Victor Hugo's Les Misérables, 2) it is going to take me forever to finish, and 3) I don't think I am ready for this novel, but I am going to start it anyways. Alexandre Dumas' writing style is nothing like Victor Hugo's style. He didn't write super descriptively, but I could imagine the main character looking at his elegant art or expensive materials, and smell and taste the black bread, the sea water, and exotic foods that laid before him. There are layers encompassing this novel that I wanted to peel back as quick as possible to figure out what is going through the main character's mind. Read this epic, revenge story about wrongful imprisonment and find out! Who doesn't like a good revenge story? (view spoiler)The Count of Monte Cristo pristinely, but savagely strategizes his abuse on his enemies, that I found is the best form of revenge.
To my mind, this novel is the 19th Century equivalent of a long-running and compelling television series. I can readily imagine being a reader of the Journal des Débats between August 1844 and January 1846, impatiently waiting for the next installment of Le Comte de Monte Cristo to be published, eagerly discussing each installment with my friends around the 19th Century equivalent of the water-cooler, exclaiming at each plot development, gasping at every cliff-hanger. What fun it has been over the past few weeks to consume The Count of Monte Cristo in much the same way as I watched all seven seasons of The West Wing one after another a few years ago: wanting to spend as much time as I could with the story, yet simultaneously wanting to slow down in order to prolong the enjoyment, loving (almost) every moment of it. Dantès, who becomes the Count of Monte Cristo, carries out his revenge after developing a careful plan over many years. My enjoyment of The Count of Monte Cristo has been increased by it being a buddy read with several members of the Comfort Reads group.
This note regards Alexandre Dumas, père, the father of Alexandre Dumas, fils (son).