Jarom's Reviews > The Hunchback of Notre-Dame

The Hunchback of Notre-Dame by Victor Hugo
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Jun 15, 14


Although giving Victor Hugo a 4 star rating is sacrilege enough to make my spine tingle, the overwhelming darkness of the Hunchback of Notre Dame prevents me from giving it a five. The moody setting combined with tragic events and overall feeling of hopelessness and despair released in me a feeling of complete saturation with every chapter's end. In this book, there is no knight in shining armour who arrives at the last moment to save the day and live happily ever after with the fair damsel. The closest any character gets to that image is Phoebus, Captain of the King's Archers, and his womanizing behaviour not only disgraces the coat of arms stitched across his tunic but puts shame on the name of man. The story, set in the twisting labyrinth of medieval Paris, follows several characters. *deep breath* Pierre Gringoire, the unfortunate playwright and small time philosopher, Claude Frollo, the archdeacon of Josas at Notre Dame and his footloose and spendthrift brother, Jehan, Quasimodo, the misshapen, misunderstood bellringer at the cathedral, La Esmeralda, the beautiful gypsy girl who enchants audiences with the help of her goat Djali, Captain Phoebus, the aforementioned libertine who also happens to be a drunk, Clopin Trouillefou (yes, I spelled that right without looking at the book), the grungy murderer, beggar, and self-proclaimed king of the Court of Miracles, and La Sachette, as she is called, the miserable woman who has locked herself in a permanent cell in endless misery, suffering for the sake of her only child who was kidnapped by gypsies fifteen years past. All of these characters, each painstakingly described and etched to reality by the magnificent, bottomless pen of Victor Hugo, interact to form a story so sad, so dark, it is painful to read. An agonizing twist at the end of the story is enough to tear the final heartstrings left untouched by the myriad weapons of Hugo's plot. I closed the book with my heart bleeding and tears gushing, and will probably be reading it again after I recover completely.
Well done Victor Hugo.
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