What can I say about Victor Hugo’s ending to The Hunchback of Notre Dame? Well, I could say a lot, but I’m not interested in that. I will say that I found the ending pleasant. Obviously, the ending is dark, and depressing, and even violent, but it is French literature after all. Even though the ending was overwrought and nearly a cliche, I liked it because it was cyclical. The cliche of dust to dust is remarkably overused in literature, but here it made sense. It didn’t make me feel gross or make me roll my eyes; it was the perfect closure to this story for a reason that I will need to explore further. Nonetheless, I closed the book after having read the last pages and felt satisfied. I wasn’t sad that it was ending, like I am for many books. I wasn’t upset with the ending, nor did I think the ending was boring. It truly was an ending, which I find to be rare; it’s infrequent that I finish a novel and feel that the story the author was telling came to close. So Hugo, bravo! You said what you had to say and finished it without contradicting the message of the book, without leaving the reader feeling like more is to come, and without giving up on the story. I commend you for it, and I find that this must be why you were a literary success.
Overall, even with all the ups-and-downs throughout my reading of it, I liked the book. I would not recommend this to everyone. It is not a universal must-read, but for some it will be.
Next, on my mission to read 60 classic novels by the time I’m thirty years on, I will be reading Light in August by William Faulkner. Faulkner is a favorite of my mine, so I am excited to return to his prose style for a refreshing, literary cleanse.