Happiness

Axel and I watched and listed to Alexandre Dumas’ Count of Monte Christo. I had downloaded from our Manchester library the unabridged (English) narrative while still in Kabul, for the long trip back. The download took an entire night, 42 parts, each about one and a half hour of narration. It took me another two weeks after I landed to finish the book. The snowstorms helped. There is nothing like sitting by the fire, knitting and being read to by a superb actor.

Axel got us started, in parallel, on the French mini-series, starring Gerard Depardieu as the count. Some members of my family call him Gerard Depardon’t which irritates me mildly – just because they can’t pronounce dieu it doesn’t mean it is funny. I told them the joke, if it is one, would not be understood in Europe. Ah, American humor. I suggested to call him Gerard Depardiable, but that is not funny; it is, in some ways, the role he takes on.

Listening to the 60 hours of English during the day and then watching the 6 hours of French ( spread over the two weeks as well) was interesting. I pointed out the many liberties the script writers had taken – which I suppose one has to when having to reduce a story by 90%.

The story is a classic indeed, leading to many conversations around the dinner table about justice, righting wrongs and taking the law into one’s own hands. But in the end I think it is about life’s purpose, happiness and the toll that anger and revenge take. As for the writer, we can’t imagine how someone can write such a long book with a quill pen and ink. And to think it was only one of many books he wrote. On to the three musketeers!

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