This morning I finished reading The Count of Monte Cristo. I was quite familiar with the overall story, having seen at least two movie adaptations, and also having read Tiger! Tiger! by Alfred Bester, which is very much a retelling of the tale, against a science fiction background.
However, I had never read the original novel before, and I thoroughly enjoyed it, even though it took me over 2 months to finish it.
Here was something that was unusual for me. Normally, although I may dip in and out of non-fiction, when reading fiction, I tend to read only one book at a time. If I happen to put a book down, and start something else, I usually find it difficult to pick it up again, unless I leave it for a while, and then start again from the beginning.
But with The Count of Monte Cristo, I found it very easy to put it down and pick it up again. A week may go by without reading, and yet when I resumed the novel, I could pick it up from where I had left off with no problem whatsoever. Part of this must be due to the great story, but I think it significant that the book was originally written as a serial, in 18 parts. Thus some aspects of the plot are recapped throughout the book, although I found this was done in a subtle way, that didn’t feel like a great deal of repetition.
The only difficulty I had at all was remembering who everybody was – this book has a large number of characters, compounded by many of them changing their names (either due to achieving position and title, or through subterfuge) throughout the course of the book. But a couple of notes in the front of the book took care of that.
All in all, an excellent read. Many years ago, I read The Three Muskateers, and I will probably re-read that soon.