Les Misérables (1862) but if Lemony Snicket was the author
to Enjolras–darling, dearest, dead.
If you’re seeking a story whose tragic beginning is followed by a less-tragic middle and an inevitably uplifting denouement, this book should be avoided at all costs. The approximately six hundred and fifty-five thousand words that are about to follow contain the tales of several bright and brave young people who each meet an unfortunate end and several less-bright, less-young people, including myself, who unfortunately survive to recount the events. “Unfortunate” is a word which here means “luckless” and “miserable”, the latter definition having been used for the title of this novel, designed to dissuade you, the misguided reader, from continuing past the cover page.
There are other techniques I have employed in this book that are designed to stop you from yourself becoming miserable by reading this story in its entirety. Firstly, the physical novel, which as you may notice shares the same dimensions and weight as a standard housing brick, for the utmost inconvenience. Secondly, I have included several hundred pages of information which are both uninteresting and have little bearing on the grander story in the meager hope that you will come to your senses and place this novel back on your shelf or better, in a lit fireplace, where I solemnly believe it belongs.
For example, the use of candlesticks. The word “candlestick” is derived from the purpose of the item itself, that is an object, most often metal, commonly silver, in which one can stick a candle. Many dictionaries define “candlestick” as “an often ornamental holder for securing a candle or candles”. “Candleholder” is another, less commonly used word for “candlestick”. Candlesticks come in a variety of forms and sizes, and can contain a variety of numbers of candles often demarcated by their names-a “trikirion” contains three candles and a “menorah” contains seven. If you have had the fortitude-a word which here means “strength of mind”-to make it this far through this dull paragraph, it may be of some note to say that the candlesticks with which we concern ourselves in this story are single candlesticks, that may each contain one candle.
Thirdly, not only have I named the main character in a redundant manner-Jean Valjean-I have decided to tell you here that Jean Valjean perishes on the final page of this novel. That is my story’s conclusion.
With all this information in mind, and having the ending already known, I now give you my final warning and pleading suggestion to forget about this book. Put it down. Hide it away. Bury it in a cemetery late at night with the assistance of a man named Fauchelevant. Forget it ever existed. For now the story must begin.
It begins in a town called Digne, on a grey and dreary night under the roof of a very kind but elderly and poor man, the bishop of the town, whose name was Myriel.