Sunday, October 01, 2006

The Count of Monte Cristo

For the past month I've been working my way through the unabridged version of The Count of Monte Cristo (yes, I'm a slow reader). My SO can vouch that I rarely get into a book enough to just sit on the couch or in bed for hours at a time reading; the unabridged version of The Count of Monte Cristo had me enchanted for hours at a time.

Indeed I did say "unabridged;" my SO and I only recently learned that many copies of The Count of Monte Cristo sold are abridged. The unabridged version ( I read one translated by Robin Buss, ISBN 014044615X - Amazon) is more than a thousand pages, while the abridged version tends to be around 600 pages (e.g., this version). I've never read the abridged version, and after reading this version I have no idea how you could cut 400 pages from this extraordinarily well-woven tale and have it retain its original beauty. While it's certainly not all duels, drugs, and sex (though there are drugs and sex in it, which are apparently often cut in abridged versions), it's riveting throughout, especially once one realizes that almost every character who gets introduced seems to play a major role a few hundred pages after their original introduction.

After reading the book I made the mistake of looking at the Disney movie's cast list. Three of the names struck me as worthy of comment.
  • "Viscount" - Which one?
  • "Maurice" - Um, who the heck is this? Are they trying to do a Beauty and the Beast crossover? Was there some shortage of characters in the original book?
  • "Casino prostitute" - Um, no.
I don't think I'll be watching that anytime soon.

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