Les Miserables

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Re: Les Miserables

Post by JennaFay » 09 Oct 2014, 23:46

If you like the musical-movie version, I highly recommend finding one of the concert versions; either the 10th Anniversary or the 25th (I prefer the 10th, because it has a number of the original cast). It's amazing to hear a full orchestra behind absolutely phenomenal singers (I couldn't stand listening to most of the singers in the movie). As for me, I have a long history with Les Mis. I've worked on the show three times, and read the book three times, though twice was an abridged version. I read the unabridged version for the first time recently. I have to say, if I'm just reading for the story, I would go with an abridged version. As much as I love the unabridged version for it's depth and prose, Victor Hugo goes on a lot of long digressions, a good number of which are completely irrelevant to the plot - including a full 19 chapters on Waterloo. These tangents are very helpful painting a picture of France at the time, to give context for all of the political moods and tensions that crop up in the book. It's a fantastic history lesson, and Victor Hugo is a great writer, skilled enough to make most of the tangents and info-dumps interesting. I really like the unabridged version. It was an illuminating read, especially because of how familiar I was with other versions before I tackled the original. Like I said however, there are portions of the book that are easily excised without detriment to the characters, plot and overall story. I don't judge people for not wanting to tackle the 1500 page version, especially not on their first go around with it, or if they're not really history buffs. And it is a story I think people should read. It's scope is epic, it's characters wonderfully and woefully human.

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Post by Sweet_Lullaby » 07 Nov 2014, 11:36

I read both books in high school by choice, and everyone thought I was crazy for choosing something that thick. It was a very good serie, though, and I enjoyed every moment of it!
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Post by pochnae » 19 Nov 2014, 12:51

Victor Hugo is no doubt a genius when it comes to writing, but is also clearly very well educated in the history of his country. His voice in this book is incredibly clear, and it is unique, rich in humor and history, and no doubt one that goes to great pains to describe everything in the greatest detail possible. The story itself is incredibly engaging throughout. However, some parts of the book are incredibly slow and is does take some time to get through. It's interesting how he develops every character incredibly deeply, whether or not the development has any relevance to the story line or not. This is clear in the way he starts off the book, giving a lengthy description and back story for the bishop in the very beginning of the book. He also describes the entire battle of Waterloo for the smallest of reasons. It is certainly intriguing how there are two clear antagonists in this book, one being a representation of the law and one being the opposite. Also, the entire barricade scene at the end is incredibly encapsulating, and the way the protagonist changes from Jean Valjean to Marius to Cosette is truly a method to writing that keeps one on his/her feet.

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Post by Aspen_Reads » 02 Dec 2014, 07:24

I have only gotten about 500 pages into it. I have been at this novel for two years-yes, two. I am a hard core reader, but this novel just takes a while for me to really delve into the language, and I REFUSE to get an abridged copy, or the young adult modern language copy. I want to read it in its entirety, and I just haven't been able to fully read it yet. I am trying to, though.
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Post by michelleNYclassics » 19 Dec 2014, 00:03

I struggle with this novel. The musical is spell-binding. Shivers, every time. Why then, each time I give myself the goal of reading Hugo's novel from which the musical was adapted, do I fail to connect? Any recommendations for getting past the monotony of reading and re-reading the same paragraphs without being able to become engaged and plow on deeper into the story -- a story that I know all-too-well becomes utterly gripping [at least when sang to you in passionate notes]?

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Post by alliebunny » 19 Dec 2014, 01:21

I am actually reading that right now, along with a dozen other books. But as of right now it is a fabulous story, I will be sure to comment again with more of my thoughts in detail when I am finished.

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Post by humanracer » 23 Dec 2014, 21:43

michelleNYclassics wrote:I struggle with this novel. The musical is spell-binding. Shivers, every time. Why then, each time I give myself the goal of reading Hugo's novel from which the musical was adapted, do I fail to connect? Any recommendations for getting past the monotony of reading and re-reading the same paragraphs without being able to become engaged and plow on deeper into the story -- a story that I know all-too-well becomes utterly gripping [at least when sang to you in passionate notes]?
What translation are you reading?

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Post by Framboise » 11 Jan 2015, 06:23

As has been said by many people before me, this book is a masterpiece. It's certainly a big commitment to read. I have read it once per decade, three times in total now (The next time I am giving myself permission to skip the Battle of Waterloo 50 pages!). Each time I read it I relate differently to the characters and themes, at different stages of my life. There are passages so beautifully written that they make me cry. I love that Hugo doesn't confine himself to the narrative, if he wants to divert into the history of the Parisian sewers for a few chapters then that's exactly where he goes, and we follow. The universal themes of love, salvation, justice and mercy are powerful and echo throughout this complex story.

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Post by Michella L » 16 Jan 2015, 10:47

Fantastic book! I will admit that I had some trouble getting through it though, The chapter on the sewage system, was tedious! Hugo had a penchant for description to say the least! That being said, it was a wonderful book that left me enraptured.

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Post by KateCrRdr » 04 Mar 2015, 18:08

Excellent book of classical literature. The story about the fate of a convict, who is trying to change his lives for the better way. One little girl gives him hope. The author reveals the idea of the struggle between good and bad.

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Post by Kellee » 29 Mar 2015, 13:57

No other book has touched me in the way Victor Hugo's epic has. During a particularly rough period of my life, I got sucked into 17th century France and the trials and tribulations of the characters. The themes of love, hope, forgiveness, mercy, grace, and fighting for a case you truly believe in are inspiring. My favourite quote which I has tattooed on myself comes during the end when Jean Valjean is revealing himself to Marius and Cosette enters the room; "Ce fut comme un rayon de soleil fourvoyé qui, sans s'en douter, aurait traversé brusquement de la nuit". Which translates to 'It was like a ray of sunshine misguided, who without realizing it had traversed the night".

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Post by Beth Davids » 06 Apr 2015, 20:26

A truly well written story although quite lengthy! I've never gotten through the compete unabridged version.
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Post by Jolyon Trevelyan » 14 May 2015, 11:33

Personally i find this book to be very up and down.

I think the beginning is very good. And the middle of it is a bit boring. But the end of it was great

But it should be said i read it 15 years ago. So if read it again i may have a completely different view on it.
A mistake is simply another way of doing things

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Post by crenner07 » 19 May 2015, 14:37

I received this book for my 11th birthday from my maternal grandparents. I had grown up listening to the highlights from the musical and had finally seen it the summer I turned 7. My grandfather felt it was time I actually read the source material. So imagine my surprise when the story didn't start out with Jean Valjean. The first time through the novel I was mostly trying to reconcile the novel to the musical. I took it to my father and explained my dilemma. He asked me how much longer the musical would have been if they had included everything from the novel. This was my first experience with abridging. I decided right then I did not appreciate abridged novels and have gone out of my way to avoid reading any since.
As with the musical I love the story of Valjean. I love how Hugo is able to so elegantly describe the challenges of redemption. Valjean doesn't turn his life around quickly or easily but has backslides and epiphanies. So, basically in creating this character, Hugo has shown us how people can progress. Valjean is not always good person or a bad person but has many shades of gray...in short, he is human.

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Post by tepih » 24 May 2015, 04:50

just watched a cartoon with my nephew, reminded me of good that book was :D. Will read it again in the near future

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