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Les Misérables

Victor Hugo

Book Overview: 

Les Misérables is a French novel by author Victor Hugo and is widely considered one of the greatest novels of the nineteenth century. It follows the lives and interactions of several French characters over a seventeen-year period in the early nineteenth century culminating in the June Rebellion.

The novel focuses on the struggles of ex-convict Jean Valjean and his experience of redemption. It examines the nature of law and grace, and expounds upon the history of France, architecture of Paris, politics, moral philosophy, anti monarchism, justice, religion, and the types and nature of romantic and familial love. The story is historical fiction because it contains factual and historic events.

Les Misérables is known to many through its numerous stage and screen adaptations, most notably the stage musical of the same name, sometimes abbreviated "Les Mis"

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .She has also worked at the laundry of the Enfants-Rouges, where the water comes through faucets. You are not in the tub there; you wash at the faucet in front of you, and rinse in a basin behind you. As it is enclosed, you are not so cold; but there is that hot steam, which is terrible, and which ruins your eyes. She came home at seven o'clock in the evening, and went to bed at once, she was so tired. Her husband beat her. She is dead. We have not been very happy. She was a good girl, who did not go to the ball, and who was very peaceable. I remember one Shrove-Tuesday when she went to bed at eight o'clock. There, I am telling the truth; you have only to ask. Ah, yes! how stupid I am! Paris is a gulf. Who knows Father Champmathieu there? But M. Baloup does, I tell you. Go see at M. Baloup's; and after all, I don't know what is wanted of me."

The man ceased speaking, and remained standing. He had said these things in a loud, rapid, hoarse voice, with a sort of i. . . Read More

Community Reviews

What makes a favourite book?

In this case, I will have to say: one single character that broke my heart and shaped my idealism and stirred my anger: Gavroche Thénardier.

"Si l'on demandait à la grande et énorme ville : Qu'est-ce que c'est que cela ? elle répondrait : C'est mon petit."

One of those...more

Jamás he leído nada igual. Ni lo haré. Ya sé que eso suena exagerado, pero sé perfectamente que no leeré nada tan bueno de nuevo. Los Miserables está a un nivel que solo Victor Hugo puede llegar a tocar.

I saw the movie version of this before reading it and I was utterly shook by the powerful nature of the story. When I read it I hoped for the same experience, instead I had one more powerful. In life there are few truly great men: there are few men that are truly and incorruptibly good. Jean Val...more

Les Misérables can be translated from the French into "The Miserable Ones", "The Wretched", "The Poor Ones", "The Wretched Poor" or "The Victims". So, as you will have concluded, this is not a happy book.

In fact, it is the very opposite of fluffy happiness. It is a story about the lowest and dark...more

873. Les Misérables, Victor Hugo
Les Misérables is a French historical novel by Victor Hugo, first published in 1862, that is considered one of the greatest novels of the 19th century. In the English-speaking world, the novel is usually referred to by its original French title. However, several al...more

This will be another review-as-I-go!

First, a thank you to Rachel for recommending the Fahnestock and MacAfee translation, which is wonderful so far!

Next, a question: Why have I been so drawn lately to these 1,500 page 19th century behemoths? War and Peace, The Brothers Karamazov, Crime and Punish...more

I'm in the minority unfortunately. I thought the book was okay. I was hoping it would blow my mind and be a favorite like The Count Of Monte Cristo, as I was afraid of that book too, but alas, it was not =(

I might as well put the ole spoilers tag up on here! Oh and even though Jean's name will be...more

I chose to read the hefty Victor Hugo classic for my thirtieth birthday, &, let me tell you, the experience was One Biiiig Bitch. I mean, why EVEN go to the 200 + year old text when the Broadway musical exists! THAT work of art exudes all beauty and majesty in one continuous song that unites...more

Let's say that I could choose a single book with the guarantee that every man, woman, and child would read it. I would not choose my top three favorites, nor would I choose the one whose remnants are permanently inked upon me. I would choose this one. You argue, the length! The time period! The c...more

One of the "biggest" book I've ever read, and I remembered Mick Foley's "warning" about a big book.

"A big book is like a serious relationship; it requires a commitment. Not only that, but there's no guarantee that you will enjoy it, or that it will have a happy ending. Kind of like going out with...more

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