The Hunchback Rides Again

There are all sorts of aspects of the Notre Dame fire which are fascinating. As well as being a tragedy, it shows how some tragedies are worse than others, for instance. No one died, and within days money was pouring in from all over the world to rebuild it. Monsieur Macron, facing a difficult election soon must have thanked his lucky stars.
    Conspiracy theorists please form an orderly queue.
    And what, you may ask, of other governments’ responses to such horrors? What about that fire in London last year? People died, you may remember. A hideous number of them. Large sums of money were also contributed to a fund for the bereaved and the homeless. Many of them are still homeless. Many of them still hover on the shores of destitution.
     Victor Hugo wrote an amazing novel about the cathedral, which like many of his works was so enormous that many of us found it hard to finish. (As did he, in fact. His publishers had to grovel on their metaphorical knees to get him to finally deliver the late, late manuscript.) His original title made no reference to the poor destitute creature Quasi Modo, found abandoned outside the cathedral and whose life became intertwined with it, but it was due to him that the book finally became a world property – on the back of Hollywood, natch.
    And now, Hugo’s great classic is selling like hot cakes again in France. Nowt like publicity, is there? In which spirit I might refer you to my own ‘version’ and translation, which i did for Walker Books, and which was illustrated by David Hughes. His pictures were so amazing, and uncompromising, that many people seemed to think they should not have appeared in what was seen (by the English) as a children’s/young adults’ book.
It’s still available, and I still think it’s one of my better works (not least for the illustrations!). You can always Google it…

2 thoughts on “The Hunchback Rides Again

  1. We are Year 7 students in Preston, and we’re reading your play, A Game of Soldiers and we are enjoying reading about a war that happened before our parents were born.
    We would like to ask what inspired you to write a story about aggression. Have you ever been in a war situation yourself?
    Thank you for writing the play which we have really been enjoying reading in class.

  2. Dear Mrs Goldson,
    First of all I must apologise for not replying to you. Please pass on my apologies to your Year 7 students – who have presumably moved on by now! I don’t have an excuse for not responding, except that my life has been pretty chaotic for some time now, and I didn’t see your comments. Lockdown because of the Corona virus has given me a bizarre way to catch up, although I could well have done without it, naturally.
    I’ve never been in war myself, but many of my family were, and they instilled in me a desire to see more than one side of any conflict. War is complex, and (as they say) there are no winners, only losers.
    Pass on my best wishes to everyone, and I believe the television serial of A Game of Soldiers is still available. It was very well done. Once more, my apologies.

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