'The Hunchback of Notre Dame' book sales spike in wake of fire

Campaigning for the preservation of the cathedral, Victor Hugo described it in his 1831 novel as crumbling and marked by "countless defacements and mutilations."

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By Associated Press

Victor Hugo's novel "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" rocketed to the top of Amazon's bestseller list in France on Tuesday, in the wake of a massive fire that severely damaged the namesake's cathedral.

Wistful French readers snapped up copies of "Hunchback," in its original form, in the hours and day following Monday evening's rooftop blaze at Notre Dame Cathedral, one of the best-known landmarks of Paris.

Quasimodo is flogged in an engraving for "Notre-Dame de Paris" by Victor Hugo. Apic / Getty Images

Meanwhile, the English translation of the 1831 novel is also No. 1 in sales in the category of historical fiction.

Telling the story of Quasimodo, a deformed bell-ringer of the cathedral in the 15th century, the book helped rally support for Notre Dame's massive renovation later in the 19th century.

Campaigning for the preservation of the cathedral, Hugo described it as crumbling and marked by "countless defacements and mutilations," contributing to alert the public about the issue.