(Review) The Hunchback of Notre-Dame by Victor Hugo

Publication Date: Originally published in 1831. My copy published in 2008.
Publisher: Barnes and Noble.
Genre: French Romantic/Gothic novel.
Pages: 544.
Source: self-purchase.
Rating: 2 stars for okay.

Link @ Barnes and Nobles.
Link @ Amazon.  

This book was read for The Back to the Classics Challenge 2015-A Classic in Translation/French, and for The Classics Club.

To read more information about this novel:
She Reads Novels
You, Me, and a Cup of Tea

The novel begins January 6, 1482. This day is the Day of Epiphany, and the Feast of Fools Day. Quasimodo, the bell ringer at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, has been proclaimed "Pope of the Fools." His disfigurement in body is compared to a "cyclops". French citizens believe he is bedeviled and they are a bit frightened of him. On the other hand, his duty as bell-ringer and his longevity from living in the Cathedral make him a mascot of sorts. When Quasimodo was a baby, he was left abandoned at the Cathedral and a priest had mercy on him. Quasimodo's ears have become deaf from the bells in the tower.
A young beautiful gypsy girl named Esmeralda dances in the streets. Her beauty, provocative dancing, and passion provoke admirers. Three men in particular are captured by her. The story will reveal which man truly loved her to the end.

My Thoughts:
Les Miserables is one of my favorite books. I read the book in sections the year the movie came out-2012. I knew from this story Victor Hugo rambles on and on, he can write pages on a subject about a building, or city. I expected the same writing style in The Hunchback of Notre Dame. I fell in love with the story and characters in Les Miserables. I did not grow to love The Hunchback of Notre Dame. I wanted to like the story, but did not.
A few themes I found running through the story:

  1. True love versus lust.
  2. The magnificence of Notre-Dame Cathedral.
  3. Brutal and harsh standards against women. Judgmental and unmerciful actions from the Church against people. Abuse to the handicapped. In most instances, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame showed people at their worst.  

The ending of the novel was my favorite in the entire book. I felt it tidied up well; and I understood the characters motives, choices. For most of the book I hung on long after I wanted to close the book and put it in a bag to donate.


  1. I couldn't get into this book at all, and I had such high hopes after Les Misérables. Maybe one day I'll re-read it, but not yet. I'm glad I'm not the only one who wasn't keen :)

  2. Thank you so much for visiting and leaving comments. My reviews are not linked to Facebook anymore. I do follow you through Facebook, but fail to leave comments. I like the idea of reading The Hunchback of Notre Dame. I loved the setting and name. I never felt an investment in the story.
    I plan to read more classics this year. Have a wonderful day!


Post a Comment