Saturday, September 26, 2009

Reading the Count of Monte Cristo, Day Twenty-Five

I finished reading The Count of Monte Cristo late last night. W00t!

Including the introduction and the endnotes, the book clocked in at 1300 pages, which means I read 52 pages a day on average. I don't think I've ever been so scientific with my reading, so it's good to have a benchmark figure of how fast I should be able to consume a book. (Looking forward to some 300-page ditties that I can do in a week!)

I'm going to take a few days to defrag before I come back with some general thoughts about the book, specifically what aspects of it fired my imagination, but until then here's my...

Reading Notes from the last chunk:

Chapter 100: "Valentine, a prey for the last hour to the fever... let her head continue beyond her control the active, monotonous and implacable operation of the brain, which exhausts itself by reproducing the same thoughts or giving birth to the same images." Replace 'fever' with 'hangover' and it still rings true.

Chapter 111: Right at the very end of the chapter, the count says, "Pray God that I have not already done too much." Basically, his initial plan included killing Villefort's daughter and wife (by providing the poisons Mme. Villefort used), but a bit of collatteral damage (Villefort's younger son; the possibility of Morrel's broken heart) and the count gets the speed wobbles. I'm not sure why this troubles me. Perhaps it's because it comes so late in the book that it's hard to believe Monte Cristo/Edmund Dantes hasn't doubted himself before. If being loved by his friend is enough to save Valentine Villefort, what about all the other lives he's ruining that didn't directly lead to his imprisonment? The dude is the epitome of self-centred.

Chapter 113: Visiting his cell on the Chateau D'If, Monte Cristo reads his inscription on the wall: 'My God, let me not forget!'
"That was my only prayer in my last years. I no longer asked for freedom, I asked for memory, and I was afraid I should become mad and forget." (p.1201)
This is powerful stuff, but it should have featured the first time around (when Dantes was still imprisoned) as well.

Chapter 115:" [Danglar's] first impulse was to breathe, to make sure that he was not wounded: this was something that he had come across in Don Quixote, not perhaps the only book that he had read, but the only one of which he could remember something." (p.1218)
I've always thought the best place to insult non-readers would be in a book... Seems a bit of a cheap shot against a man who's about to be starved to the point of death.

No comments: