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Les Misérables by Victor Hugo

Les Misérables (1862)

by Victor Hugo

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
14,864188133 (4.27)802
  1. 160
    The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas père (VictoriaPL)
  2. 70
    Silas Marner by George Eliot (ncgraham)
    ncgraham: Both great classics, with orphaned girls and themes of redemption.
  3. 81
    War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (chrisharpe)
  4. 61
    The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy (ncgraham)
    ncgraham: Both stories of men who commit public crimes ... and yet the outcomes are very different.
  5. 61
    The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (CGlanovsky)
    CGlanovsky: As much a story about the trials of individuals as a sweeping portrait and critique of an era.
  6. 30
    The Life of Lazarillo de Tormes by Anonymous (albavirtual)
  7. 30
    The Man Who Laughs by Victor Hugo (raton-liseur)
    raton-liseur: Des thèmes similaires, dans une prose étourdissante et avec une ironie mordante.
  8. 10
    The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo (CorinneT)
  9. 10
    Doctor Thorne by Anthony Trollope (morryb)
    morryb: Both speak to the struggle of adopting a child and then letting them up later.
  10. 10
    Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende (CGlanovsky)
    CGlanovsky: Cast of interconnected characters are subjected to historical pressures through years-worth of events surrounding a revolution. Issues of paternity and social justice.
  11. 10
    The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni (chrisharpe)
  12. 10
    Barnaby Rudge by Charles Dickens (morryb)
    morryb: Both have a main character who adopts a daughter and the struggle of letting her go.
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» See also 802 mentions

English (171)  Spanish (4)  French (3)  Dutch (2)  Norwegian (2)  Aragonese Spanish (1)  Portuguese (1)  Italian (1)  Finnish (1)  Piratical (1)  All languages (187)
Showing 1-5 of 171 (next | show all)
I saw my kids in a school production of this and felt guilty for not knowing the story, so I ordered the Everyman edition that evening. At first (once I'd got past the very long and superfluous backstory with which the book begins) I found quite a lot to admire: Valjean is quite lovable as reformed rogues go, not coming over as too prissy and putting his ill-gained talents to work in the service of good. The Thénardiers, when they come on the scene, are superb panto villains. There is a total lack of moral nuance in all the characters, of course, but the same goes for Dickens and your typical Hollywood movie. And the chase/manhunt through the streets of Paris is tautly written, gripping and quite modern.

I can see why many editions omit Hugo's essay-length digressions. I thought the one on Waterloo was very good, the one on monasteries bored me to tears, the others were in between.

As the book went on I became increasingly annoyed with Hugo's knowing, pompous, and windy narration. Or maybe it wasn't me, but the narrative voice gradually becoming more stentorian as the pages turned. Hugo sure does want to make sure you get his Message! By the fourth book I was running out of steam, and four months later I'm about a third of the way through the fifth book, knowing but not caring how it will end, reading about a chapter a week when I feel like chastising myself.

I've mentioned Dickens. His novels are not my cup of tea, but they are a lot more fun than Les Mis. Another comparison would be War and Peace which, although a much more complex and deeply considered novel, is written by a similarly didactic author. But at least with War and Peace, most of the bloviating is saved for the concluding book/essay/explication, and readers can very easily skip it altogether. Hugo by contrast - except for the signature essays which open each book - interlards his pontifications with his narrative, making them more difficult to avoid. After many hours of practice, I am now quite adept at doing so, but I'm not sure it was a skill worth acquiring.

I'm comfortable concluding that the school-musical version is superior to the novel. ( )
  yarb | Oct 4, 2015 |
First of all, I wish that I had read the abridged version of this book. (Sorry, Rachel) But I think I may have given it five stars if I had read the abridged version. I really loved the story about Jean Valjean, and there were so many beautiful moments of humanity, forgiveness, redemption, etc. I shed tears at several points.

I just had a really hard time getting through some of the other parts. I'm not that interested in the political or societal history of France, so some of those long explanations of battles or neighborhoods of France just entirely bored me and made it harder to get into some of the other parts. ( )
  klburnside | Aug 11, 2015 |
this is the first book i absolutely and completely fell for. i was 15-16 at the time and it broke my heart completely. i've read a few different editions (though my french never progressed to read it untranslated) but none compared to that first very old, plain black book from the library. ( )
  mkclane | Jul 31, 2015 |
I always remember cursing Hugo for the last eight pages when I knew he was putting on the emotional tourniquet but I had to cry anyway. I am still not utterly convinced of the suicide element and I think Cosette was awful just dumping Val Jean after he had been a father to her, but I suppose Hugo knew how people are.

I read this long before the musical which is nothing like this book. The huge introspection, the brilliant 100 pages on the priest at the beginning who does one thing and on thing only to change Val Jean's life. The unremitting unfairness of it all, the weariness of a society of animals pretending to be rational for its own sake and not for the sake of their inescapable natures.

( )
  Daniel_Nanavati | Jul 19, 2015 |
A masterpiece marred by unnecessary digression ( )
  Mohamed80 | Jul 11, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 171 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (319 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hugo, Victorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bayard, Emile AntoineCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Charles E. WilbourTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Denny, NormanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hapgood, Isabel FlorenceTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Norman DennyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Picchi, MarioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sabard, Marie-Hélènesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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.
First words
In the Year 1815 Monseigneur Charles-François-Bienvenu Myriel was Bishop of Digne.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This work represents complete editions. Please do not combine with the first volume of multi-volume editions.
Florence Hapgood is a translator, not the original author of this work. The original author is Victor Hugo. If you have Florence Hapgood as the author, please substitute Hugo and put her down as a translator. Thank you.
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Book description
Ce prost sunt! îşi zise Jean Valjean. Nu-l remarcase încă şi i-l arăt chiar eu.
O, naivitate a bătrânilor! Înţelepciune a copiilor!
Haiku summary
A fugitive man
gets a new name and new life.
He adopts a girl. (marcusbrutus)

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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:16 -0400)

(see all 11 descriptions)

Story of Valjean, the ex-convict who rises against all odds from galley slave to mayor, and the fanatical police inspector who dedicates his life to recapturing Valjean.

» see all 38 descriptions

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

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Penguin Australia

3 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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Tantor Media

2 editions of this book were published by Tantor Media.

Editions: 1400102758, 1400109000

Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

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