librarian looks at me with surprise: "Which book did you say you
want? I'm afraid I have to order it; don't worry, it will be in
hands in a couple of days.""Please, check your online catalogue; I think it's somewhere here, in this room (the only room)."She sighs,
then gasps: "You are right! It is here. Just wait a sec, I'll be right back."I smile, she comes back bringing what seems to be an old-
fashioned book, with a fake-leather cover and golden title. "No one has ever requested it. It's dirty and it has dust all over, I'm sorry."
since the first years of high school, I have simply loved Victor
Hugo.I started with "Les
because everyone said "You HAVE TO read it!" and because it
had so many pages: I found one of the few books which made me
actually cry at the end of it.
Then it was the time for "Notre Dame de Paris" and for the discovery of some of the best-written pages I have read.
now I finally have "L'homme qui rit" in my hands. I know,
many intellectuals say that, along with Byron, Hugo is for teenagers:
well, I might admit they are right, but then I probably think I will
stay a teenager for the rest of my (hopefully long) life. Not an
eternal Peter Pan, but a perpetual Holden Caulfield.
We smile when we are happy. We smile when we see something funny, or something grotesque.
We smile, ironically, when life is not as we expected. We smile when we meet someone new. "L'homme qui rit"
cannot choose when to smile. He always smiles.
Are you a bad joke-teller? Well, he will sympathetically smile at every gag.
Are you sad and want someone to cheer you up? He will always smile, no matter how tired, or stressed, or depressed he might be.
Probably, this is not the best book written by Hugo. It has not the magnificent lust of "Notre Dame de Paris", nor the chaotic revolutionary breath of "Les Misérables"; it is simply touching. Simple as its main character.
He is a clown, no one laughs with him.
Everyone laughs at him. But he is happy: he has found love, he is alive.
All his hopes are coming to life, he is powerful. Then, something happens.
Society rejects him. He looses everything.
He sees no hope and no future.
He can just see his death.
If I had fun reading this book? No. I closed it with a smile, though.
The smile of "L'homme qui rit"