Thursday, February 03, 2011

Le Comte de Monte Cristo

Le Comte de Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas

Plotted in two dimensions, hero's power over time, many good books start high, say seven, drop quickly to one and remain there until near the end, when they rise to ten. That return feels amazing.

Monte Cristo is simpler: starting at ordinary five, we glimpse six then drop to one and stay there only a short time before heaving up massively to ten and remaining there for the last three quarters of the story. That long stay at ten feels mind-blowing.

What I like is how it's tempered. Unlike Frye's The Stars' Tennis Balls, a nominal God drives and justifies revenge, and the milieu validates it. Consequently, the punishment is not dementia. More simply, it's fun to watch the star Monte Cristo build up all the little pieces that will eventually act in concert to cause his enemies' overthrow, in many cases the enemy forced to hammer in the final nail himself.

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