Ms. Wood R's Choice: "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," by Victor Hugo....

The setting of this extraordinary historical novel is medieval Paris: a city of vividly intermingled beauty and ugliness, surging with violent life under the two towers of its greatest structure and supreme symbol, the cathedral of Notre-Dame. Against this background, Victor Hugo unfolds the haunting drama of Quasimodo, the hunchback; Esmeralda, the Gypsy dancer; and Claude Frollo, the priest tortured by the spectre of his own damnation. Shaped by a profound sense of tragic irony, it is a work that gives full play to the author's brilliant imagination and his remarkable powers of description.

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