The Man Who Laughs (1871) novel by Victor Hugo ,PDF

The Man Who Laughs (1871) PDF novel by Victor Hugo with Illustrations

The Man Who Laughs (also published under the title By Order of the King from its subtitle in French) is a novel by Victor Hugo, originally published in April 1869 under the French title L'Homme qui rit. It takes place in England in the 1680s and 1700s, during the reigns of James II and Queen Anne, respectively, and depicts England's royalty and aristocracy of the time as cruel and power-hungry. 

Hugo intended parallels between England depicted and the France of Louis-Philippe and the Régence
the life of a young nobleman, Gwynplaine, disfigured as a child (on the orders of the king), who travels with his protector and companion the vagabond philosopher Ursus and the baby girl he rescues during a storm. The novel is famous for Gwynplaine's mutilated face, stuck in a permanent laugh. The book has inspired many artists, dramatists, and film-makers
For more information visit Wikipedia 

Review by Jim Dooley 

This is an astonishing book and quite emotionally draining. I doubt if there is another writer who creates such an understanding of the human condition as does Victor Hugo...and, yes, that includes Charles Dickens who is one of my favorite authors. 

Seldom have I read a story that was so entirely immersive. The writer took me deeply into the culture of the time, the settings, the politics, and gave me a sense of day-to-day life. Consequently, I knew these characters to the point that I could probably have predicted their actions had the story moved along a different path. Modern readers are likely to be troubled by the (at times) overwhelming detail. 

If your wonderful writing ideal is the work of James Patterson, Hugo's detail will drive you crazy. His characters don't simply walk across town. They interact with their environment to the point that I felt that I was there on many occasions. Yes, there were times that I wished that so much extensive detail had not been provided.

 Yet, I was Always rewarded for my patience. Seemingly throw-away acts came back at a crucial point of the story later, and I did not need to stop and ponder, "Oh, who is that character again?" As I mentioned earlier, this one plunged into the depths of my emotions. There were times that I literally laughed aloud, was horrified, and cried. 

That doesn't happen too often for me when reading the written word. Oh, I'm involved to the point of desperately wanting to know what will happen next, but seldom to the point of an injury to a character being an injury to me. This is the third Victor Hugo novel that I've read...all were exceptional. And while I wouldn't consider this to be his masterwork, I give it a high recommendation without hesitation.
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