After my misadventures with Don Quixote in Spain I was led to believe (by lazy research on my part really) that The Count of Monte Cristo is partly set in Spain. It is not! Not really. So yet again I can’t really link it to my travels. But it is delightful nonetheless.
Slight spoiler alert: this book is really really long and I’m going to give away stuff that happens in the first 20% or so because otherwise I wouldn’t be able to tell you anything.
Monte Cristo opens with Edmond Dantes, the intelligent, kind and plucky (I don’t think I’ve ever used that word before) sailor coming home to Marseille. Things seem to be going well for him: he’s about to be married to a pretty girl, he’s going to be made captain of a ship, I don’t know, things are just looking good generally! For those of you still with me, Edmond is falsely accused by jealous rivals and is sent to an island jail in complete isolation. This is where you should stop reading if you don’t want any spoilers. With the help of an eccentric and brilliant co-prisoner, Edmond learns mathematics, logic, history, politics and like every language ever. He also learns the location of a secret treasure and is able to escape, becoming a multi-millionaire genius bent on revenge!
This is super enjoyable because of the crazy elaborate plots he undertakes, together with the knowledge that the good people of the book will be rewarded while the bad guys will get what’s coming to them. It’s sometimes wordy (especially when the Paris young’uns get talking) but that works well to slow down the super fast pace of crazy events.
I guess my only complaint is that everything works out way too neatly all the time. I mean crazy coincidences are well and good occasionally but with The Count of Monte Cristo they’re a way of life. I know he makes some of them happen but still, it’s a little nuts that everything works out perfectly every time. And also, he gets to be kind of a jerk.
But yeah, super fun and easy to read, despite the huge length.
Now Spain. Spain was beautiful. I love the bright sun and the bustling cities and the amazing art galleries everywhere. I enjoyed Seville way more than I did last time I was here. It was like a million degrees but the whites and yellows of the buildings and all the flowers everywhere seemed designed for the sun. So many elaborate gardens. Madrid is still my favourite, I love the hectic pace and the people everywhere all the time. I mean Barcelona seems to be full of tourists but Madrid feels like a real city where real people live.
Next on to France and French literature!