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Les Misérables by Victor Hugo

Les Misérables (1862)

by Victor Hugo

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
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» See also 753 mentions

English (161)  French (3)  Spanish (3)  Norwegian (2)  Dutch (2)  Portuguese (1)  Aragonese Spanish (1)  Piratical (1)  Finnish (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (176)
Showing 1-5 of 161 (next | show all)
This epic novel by Victor Hugo was quite a surprising treat. I think the enchantment felt was partially due to the lack of knowledge I had of this popular story. I've never seen any of the films or ventured out to see the play. Anyone who has ever read this will know Hugo tends to digress into many topics which stray from the story itself. Not knowing this, the first digression choked me like swallowing a huge pill. But slowly, after each one… I started to enjoy his digressions and wanted more. Hugo has a wonderful mind and really delves into some thought provoking ideas. All this stimulating writing had me highlighting like crazy.

For example, I loved the way Hugo compared a prison to a monastery and a convict to a nun, never would I have even thought to compare the two! I also loved the entire rant on slang; this topic is still being debated today. Also, the slang of long ago is proper speech today which strengthens his argument even more. He brings a refreshing look at what slang really is and how it should be treated.

One of my favorite characters in the book was actually a very minor character but one which brought about Hugo’s rant of slang. Gavroche, the street urchin who creates a nest in an elephant sculpture, has such cheer and resourcefulness for a child with nothing. This is admirable, yes… but Gavroche’s charm lies with his slangy speech. His speech is chock full of cute words for ordinary things and he tries to correct others when they use “proper” speech. His part is short but his character is so heartwarming and odd that it stuck with me.

Okay, so… this story is aptly named “The Miserable Wretches” because EVERYONE has horrible things happen to them BUT sometimes a happy ending is overrated. I’ll leave you with this quote straight out of the ending of the book:

“It is a terrible thing to be happy! How content one is! How all-sufficient one finds it! How, being in possession of the false object of life, happiness, one forgets the true object, duty!”

It was Hugo’s duty to deliver us a story with depth and feeling, not one of those dull (heard it all before) stories. With this, he has success… End of story.
( )
1 vote yougotamber | Aug 22, 2014 |
What is there to say? I mean, it's Les Mis! One of the best books ever written, and as valuable an examination of the human condition as has ever been written. It's amazingly long, but worth every single minute you spend reading it.

And if you really can't manage it, go so the movie. ( )
  bfgar | Aug 6, 2014 |
One of the best novels ever written. Hugo is sensational. Do not confuse the musical (although excellent) with the book. The book is far better. ( )
  JVioland | Jul 14, 2014 |
Great book, but man it was long. ( )
  William-Tucker | Jun 29, 2014 |
Not since The Poisonwood Bible has a book moved me and had such a complete impact on my soul. For years I had watched the musical and that was enough for me. Thanks to my group Who Doesn't Love a Classic? which has this for their year read this year, I would have never picked up this gem.

Now I see that I have only witnessed half the story and found myself reading for eight, nine hours at a time. It was the first thing I picked up in the morning and the last thing I put down at night. I longed to know more about M. Bienvenu and with each page I had a greater respect for him. I mourned with Jean Valjean when he passed.

Throughout the book is the constant reminder of redemption throughout the book. That is, except for the Thenardiers. Never have I loathed two people more in literature (perhaps I will change my mind when I read Dickens). They had zero redeeming qualities. While the musical may make them the comic relief, there is nothing comical about them in the book.

This took me almost three weeks to read and while I had been intimidated to read such a lengthy book, I found the language glorious and if it were not for sleep, I may have read this quicker.

I'm sure at the time this was written, the scenes of Waterloo and the sewer system was interesting. I must admit though, fifty pages describing the sewer system made me want to take a hot shower and stay there. I'm not interested all that much in the Napoleonic Wars and therefore didn't have a lot of interest in the pages and pages of Waterloo.

One of the best books I have ever read. ( )
1 vote allgenresbookworm | Jun 24, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 161 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (176 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Victor Hugoprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bayard, Emile AntoineCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Denny, NormanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hapgood, Isabel FlorenceTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
Finchè esisterà, a causa delle leggi e dei costumi, una dannazione sociale che in piena civiltà crea artificialmente degli inferni, e aggiunge una fatalità umana al destino, che è divino; finchè i tre problemi del secolo, la degradazione dell'uomo nel proletariato, l'abbiezione della donna per fame, l'atrofia del fanciullo per tenebra, non saranno risolti; finchè, in certi settori, sarà possibile l'asfissia sociale; in altre parole, e da un punto di vista ancor più ampio, finchè esisteranno sulla terra ignoranza e miseria, libri di questa specie potranno non essere inutili.
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In the Year 1815 Monseigneur Charles-François-Bienvenu Myriel was Bishop of Digne.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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This work represents single-volume editions. Please do not combine with the first volume of multi-volume editions.
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Ce prost sunt! îşi zise Jean Valjean. Nu-l remarcase încă şi i-l arăt chiar eu.
O, naivitate a bătrânilor! Înţelepciune a copiilor!
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451525264, Mass Market Paperback)

Victor Hugo's towering novel of Jean Valjean, his unjust imprisonment, and his lifelong flight from a relentless police officer.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:38:12 -0400)

(see all 10 descriptions)

A complete, vivid picture of France at the beginning of the nineteenth century with unforgettable descriptions of the Paris sewers, the battle of Wterloo and the fighting at the barricades during the July Revolution.

» see all 38 descriptions

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Ten editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

Three editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140444300, 1846140498, 0141392606


An edition of this book was published by HighBridge.

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