I just finished Henri Murger's The Bohemians of the Latin Quarter. I knew there would not be a happy ending, but I was met with a more frustrating outcome than I'd anticipated.
This is really Murger's only well-known work, at least in the English speaking world. The opera La Boheme was based on it, as well as the Broadway musical Rent. Even Moulin Rouge was loosely derived from the novel, or collection of stories pertaining to the same characters in a somewhat chronological order.
I wasn't actually entralled with the story, as it really should have been called "The Budget". Constantly the four main characters are trying to make ends meet while living out their Bohemian lifestyle. The reader finds out what everything cost in France around the 1840's. If I wanted to read about financial struggles, I could read my credit card statements. I was kind of annoyed at the mooching and the refusal to pay rent or other bills, even when one of them successfully sold their work. I'm not the shining example of responsibility, but these guys are brazen. Okay, it's kind of funny sometimes.
I knew there would be a tragic tuberculosis-related ending, and I really wanted to see how this would be presented. For some reason, though, my edition had missing pages all throughout the ending. Completely blank. So it turned out terribly choppy. I think the guys sell out after the death scene, but I'm not sure. This is frustrating as the only existing edition of this book in the New York Public Library system was in my hands (and overdue), and any other editions are expensive, even on Amazon or Alibris. I won't tell you how much, or I will begin to sound like Murger the Second. Suffice it to say I'm frustrated. What kind of *&((^$! book is this?
I'd see the opera, but it might dig into my rent money.