|Bishop Myriel - image from wikipedia|
I started reading Les Miserables early this year. I'm actually reading an electronic version from my tablet and I must confess that I am progressing extremely slowly. First, could be due to the fact that I don't really like reading from the ipad and also because the book has not being very exciting thus far.
I completed Part 1 - A Just Man a while ago and currently reading through Part 2 - The Fall. If you must know, there's altogether 48 parts to the book and over 1800 pages. I really do not know when I'll finish it!
Part 1 - A Just Man consists of 14 chapters and covers over 80 pages. A Just Man is all about the bishop. M Charles-Francios-Bienveu Myriel or just known as Bishop Myriel. If you have watched the movie and seen the musical, you would remember the bishop is an important character in the change that took place in Jean Valjean. It is through the forgiving kindness of the bishop that Jean Valjean realises the err of his way (note : Valjean's Soliloquy).
It's actually the turning point in Jean Valjean's life and to really drive across the message, Victor Hugo wanted readers to really know who this bishop is. Just so that you are clear, the bishop has not met Valjean yet in A Just Man. It is an account and a background to the life of the bishop and how highly regarded he was by the people. There was a chapter on how he went to visit some congregations in the mountains and he was advised by others from making the trip as there are robbers in the mountains but yet, he still went and the robbers presented him with much gold and money instead of robbing him which he in return, put to good use not for himself but for the poor people.
He gave up his home to be converted as a hospital and he converted the hospital as his home instead and although he was born rich, he gave up his wealth for his ministry and only kept the very minimum for himself and his sister and housekeeper who stayed with him.
The only luxury he allows himself are some silverware and among them 2 silver candlesticks. That is all he has and again, if you are familiar with the musical, you would know the significant of the sliver candlesticks.
Part 2 - The Fall is about Valjean and I guess would be more interesting. Keep an eye for my review of The Fall.
Till then, let me leave you with this encounter between Bishop Myriel and Valjean from the movie starring Hugh Jackman as Valjean and Colm Wilkinson as the Bishop.