Lisa Reads: The Count of Monte Christo

The Count of Monte Cristo
By: Alexandre Dumas
Narrated by: Bill Homewood
Length: 52 hrs and 41 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 08-04-11
Language: English
Publisher: Naxos AudioBooks

I have seen several movie versions of “The Count of Montecristo,” and enjoyed most of them. I seem to remember having read it (probably an abridged version) when I was about 12. The sense of adventure and the satisfaction of seeing the “bad guys get their just desserts” was just plain FUN. I will always enjoy these simplistic versions of Alexander Dumas’ book, but they don’t begin to hold a candle to the unabridged version!

Granted, there are some downsides. This book is REALLY *L*O*N*G*, 117 chapters… But who is counting? Some of the science and medical techniques are, well… 19th century. I had to work hard to set aside the knowledge I have as a 21st-century woman.

Speaking of which… I’m not entirely comfortable with Alexander Dumas’ portrayals of women. Again, they are SO 19th century!

And yet, this story just WORKS!

It sort of feels like a Gothic novel at times, but there is no supernatural activity. It also feels a bit like a travel journal at times, details of streets and actual buildings abound.

The menagerie of characters is quite impressive. Alexander Dumas keeps his people straight as well as George RR Martin does, but he isn’t QUITE as bloody. Most of his cast survives…

Alexander Dumas was writing at a time when people thoroughly enjoyed words. Sometimes, the writing is a bit tedious for our ears, but it really is a treat to savor. It just takes a while to develop a more sophisticated “palate.” Listening to this audiobook version may have helped. You can just feel the 19th century dripping through your fingers as you listen to the tale.

I was most astonished when I saw the rich themes of “repentance” and “forgiveness” running through this novel of REVENGE! I definitely will have to think about this more in the context of this book. It is a wonder!

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