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The Man Who Laughs
Victor Hugo
207 Installments

A bearskin-clad charlatan, a disfigured youth, a blind girl, and a wolf comprise one of the saddest carnival acts in literature. When the young man is mysteriously summoned by the Queen of England, he learns the truth about his disfigurement with grave consequences for those around him in this startling examination of transgression and class.

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Nov. 20, 2013
Old joke: The optimistic child, when thrown into a room filled with horse manure, wades around with excitement: &quot;Somewhere in here, there *has* to be a pony!&quot; <br/><br/>I shared that same feeling, and suffered the same inevitable disappointment.<br/><br/>This novel has a good story to tell. But Hugo fails to tell it well. His characters are not real. When they speak, their dialogue is indistinguishable from the prose, and it all sounds like Hugo. Polarities are juxtaposed. Aphorisms abound. <br/><br/>Hugo is a brilliant man who wants you to know just how brilliant he is, and his editors are clearly terrified at suggesting otherwise.<br/><br/>Some of that is attributable to the time period. <br/><br/>Most of it, though, is due to Hugo's inability to just get on with the story. <br/><br/>Which is there, I'm sure of it. You just need to have the courage and optimism to wade around a bit and see for yourself.
The Man Who Laughs
FREE
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