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Publisher's Summary

In the grotesque bell-ringer Quasimodo, Victor Hugo created one of the most vivid characters in classic fiction. Quasimodo's doomed love for the beautiful gypsy girl Esmeralda is an example of the traditional love theme of beauty and the beast. Yet, set against the massive background of Notre Dame de Paris and interwoven with the sacred and secular life of medieval France, it takes on a larger perspective. The characters come to life: the poet, Gringoire; the tormented priest, Claude Frollo; the fun-loving captain, Phoebus; and, above all, Quasimodo and Esmeralda themselves. It is a tale peppered with humor but fueled by the anguish that unfolds beneath the bells of the great cathedral of Paris.
Public Domain (P)2014 Naxos AudioBooks
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By 1DrummingAddict on 07-18-15

More than I bargained for...

Hugo's level of detail and backstory development are more than I am used to. The story is extremely detailed and exquisitely presented. It was well worth the time, and I am glad it did the audiobook version because the printed book would have been more difficult to get through.

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By CoolerGirl on 05-25-15

Great classic.

Not having read this book in school, I did not know what to expect. The story started out a bit slow, with a lot of establishment, but became intensely interesting. The narration was fantastic and carried the story along. The narrator's accents and inflections were perfect and a pleasure to listen to. This was the second book I have listened to narrated by Bill Homewood (the other was The Count of Monte Cristo) and he is wonderful at the French accent and giving each of the characters their own voice. Now that I have listened to The Hunchback of Notre Dame I am interested in the theater production. Thank you for for an excellent audiobook.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Johanna Hockmann on 04-04-15

A masterpiece

Beautifully written, a little slow about a third in but when it takes off there is no way to stop. The characters, the language, the story...all just amazing.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

1 out of 5 stars
By Christopher Mitchell on 03-28-18

Morbid Curiocity

What would have made The Hunchback of Notre Dame better?

Discard two thirds of it! Seriously; Victor Hugo could have written the plot in a fraction of the space and included a supplementary book to explain his love of architecture without boring the audience to death. He would never get published today.

Would you ever listen to anything by Victor Hugo again?

No. I only wanted to understand the story of Quasimodo from its original roots given that I like the Disney movie so much. Given what I got; I couldn't survive another of his books!

Would you listen to another book narrated by Bill Homewood?

Depends on what he's narrated. I don't doubt he's a good narrator, but this book bored me to death.

You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

It's clear that Victory Hugo is passionate about architecture and wants us to understand as much as can be understood about his story, setting and characters. Quasimodo is interesting and well developed once we get to know him, and Frollo is a more tragic figure than he is in the Disney film. Mr Hugo also belongs to a tragically lost period of writers that prefers their poetic prose, giving his text a unique flavour. The issue is there's WAY too much of it!

Any additional comments?

Listen only if you have a love of architecture, multi-lingual expressions of poetic prose, are interested in the origin story of the movie adaptations, and a LOT of patience.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Bake. on 01-10-18

A Literary Masterpiece

Despite several tedious chapters in which Hugo indulges in his ulterior motive of promoting architecture, which in no way serves the plot or story, the novel as a whole is a gripping gothic tale full of heart-wrenching pathos and acute observation of the follies of humanity.
Well narrated, well worth the listen.

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