intense sensations

Beware social asphyxia

Posted on: November 28, 2012

Les MisérablesLes Misérables by Victor Hugo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If I were being totally honest I’d say I don’t want you to even think about reading this book. It’s too big. I’m worried that you’ll ignore Twitter and forget to update Facebook. You might even switch off the internet entirely. Worst of all, you won’t have time to read my slim, svelte, economical masterpieces. Seriously, you could fit my entire oeuvre into Hugo’s first few chapters.

It may be free on Kindle, but think of the human cost. Think of the – in Hugo’s own words – “social asphyxia.” Yes, I’m serious. Rather than saving the world from social asphyxia, this book could cause it.

Look, there’s a film version that has just been released. Save your time. Watch the film. It has songs in it. It’s been tipped to win at least eight oscars already.

Besides, the book is a mess. It’s impossible to summarise. The plot is bursting at the seams with minor characters. It’s a bloated melodrama that hopes, by bringing a tear to your eye, to change the world.

We all know that’s not going to happen. Wars, greed, corruption, poverty and the degradation of our fellows will go on just the same. Literature can’t solve the world’s problems. Certainly, hiding away in your bedroom and immersing yourself in this sentimental, rambling epic for three months won’t help anybody.

Watch the film. And if you still crave literature, try Muriel Spark.


6 Responses to "Beware social asphyxia"

No wonder why I was a misfit kid with no friends…I was too busy reading books like this, and Anna Karenina, when I was twelve. This explains everything…*laugh*

Whereas reading my books will increase the flow of blood to your brain, make you a happy, outgoing, carefree person, cure you of all addictions, improve your complexion and make all your future sexual encounters much more intense, satisfying and guilt-free. (But no guarantees.)

just bought this book you guys are terrible let me enjoy it first then I’ll watch the movie then the theatre production then i will return hear and argue

OK. See you in six months. 🙂

I love your reviews, Vanessa – with 2 young children I’ve not squeezed in a film over the past 6 months, let alone a doorstop novel. After buying a set of Dickens recently and not getting past the first page, M.Hugo is not likely to make it to my reading list – although I think your books might!

Thank you, whoever you are. I’m sure you would find my slender books worth the effort. “Not a word wasted – what a find!” to summarise a recent Twitter review.

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Books by Vanessa Wu

Lure of the Feminine

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