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Archive for the ‘Classic’ Category

The Man Who LaughsThe Man Who Laughs by Victor Hugo
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A boy child of 10 is left to die at peak of winter in the United Kingdom by a bunch of felons who are running away. The end up drowning in the sea, but no before they write something in a bottle and throwing it to the sea.
The boy not only survives, but also rescues a girl child, lesser than a year old and is given protection by a roaming mountebank and his wolf. (A mountebank is a person used to sell medicines going from one city to another). The face of the boy has been manipulated by a Comprachico to be always laughing. (Comprachios were people from all over Europe who used to capture children and operate upon them to mutilate their face so that they are unable to express any emotion other than was they sculpted it to show). The girl has lost her sight and is blind.

They grow up under the protection of the mountebank. The mountebank organizes for a play that they play every evening and earn their living. The play exploits the fact that the boy can only keep laughing and this triggers the audience to laugh. Just the view of his face is sufficient to trigger laughter in them. Soon he gets the moniker “The laughing man” and they start having a decent living. The mountebank one day decides to go to London. He moves to a suburb of London and starts hosting his play near a pub. The pub and hotel owner is happy to host him and provide him shelter and the people who come to see the play also have a drink or two.

The boy and girl are in love with each other. Soon there is a twist in their life which looks like will lead them to a good life, but ends in a tragedy.

A good read if one is OK reading a lot of description of the society during those times. This description provides a good insight into the society during the late 18th century and early 19th century in United Kingdom.

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