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Les Misérables

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4.18  ·  Rating details ·  679,712 ratings  ·  17,437 reviews
Introducing one of the most famous characters in literature, Jean Valjean—the noble peasant imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread—Les Misérables ranks among the greatest novels of all time. In it, Victor Hugo takes readers deep into the Parisian underworld, immerses them in a battle between good and evil, and carries them to the barricades during the uprising of 1832 wit ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 1463 pages
Published March 3rd 1987 by Signet Classics (first published 1862)
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Melody I've read the Norman Denny translation and to me he truly grasped the poetry and drama of Victor Hugo's writing. Hugo wan't just a novelist, he was a …moreI've read the Norman Denny translation and to me he truly grasped the poetry and drama of Victor Hugo's writing. Hugo wan't just a novelist, he was a poet and a playwright and Denny communicates that in his translation very well. As I was reading it I couldn't stop thinking, "Why do they teach Shakespeare when every single line of Hugo is this deep, poetic, profound truth?". Some have stated that the language he uses is less true to the French version, but I believe he captured the spirituality, and this other-worldly quality of the novel the best of all the translations.(less)
Raya راية ترجمة منير البعلبكي، دار العلم للملايين

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Emily May
Aug 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 darkest parts of French society in the first half of the nineteenth century. Hugo takes the reader on a 1200+ page journey around France and into the lives of criminals, prostitutes, those wasting away under
...more
Hippo dari Hongkong
Dec 25, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
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 a girl, having to spend time every day with her - with absolutely no guarantee of nailing her in the end. No thanks."

Haha... Well, I took my chances reading this big book. I made my commitment, I spent
...more
Aubrey
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 cultural barriers! It's just another long expounding by some old dead white guy whose type has suffocated literature for centuries! Women will be frustrated with poor representation, people who aren't whi ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
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 alternatives have been used, including The Miserables, The Wretched, The Miserable Ones, The Poor Ones, The Wretched Poor, The Victims and The Dispossessed.

Beginning in 1815 and culminating in the 1832 Ju
...more
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
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 changed in the book, I'm sticking with Jean so I won't get all messed up!

 :

FANTINE

1)An Upright Man
2) The Fall
3) In The Year 1817
4) To Trust Is Sometimes To Surrender
5) The Descent
6) Javert
7) The Cha
...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
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 alternatives have been used, including The Miserables, The Wretched, The Miserable Ones, The Poor Ones, The Wretched Poor, The Victims and The Dispossessed.

Beginning in 1815 and culminating in the 1832 Ju
...more
Fabian
Feb 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
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 the characters through time; ultimately giving us a true theme, or feeling of genuine victory over adversity. The plot, one gorgeous telenovela of a story, replete with jailbreaks, insurrections, betrayals, ...more
Lisa
Jun 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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 street children that see and hear more during their childhood than most people ever experience, who carry pain and neglect with them on their daily adventures to survive in a hostile, careless environm
...more
Michael
Jan 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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 Punishment, and now this. Am I just a glutton for punishment? Or just showing off? I hope not. When I think about it, I think it has to do with the moral scope and depth of the work and the way these books rea
...more
~Bookishly Numb~
This is the longest book I've ever read (one might call it a beast) and it is without a shadow of a doubt, the best book I've ever been privileged enough to read. I mean, WOW. I struggle to put into words how I feel about this. Hugo had me smiling, laughing and most of the time crying, all in one chapter. This is in no way a happy tale, as one can probably tell by the title, but it has affected me more than I had anticipated. Hugo certainly knows how to captivate the reader, and captivate, he di ...more
Sean Barrs
Jan 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
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 Valjean is such a man; he is a paragon of goodliness: he is a superb character.

At the beginning of the novel he sacrifices everything: he steals a loaf of bread knowing full well of the consequences. He ri
...more
Greta
The French Revolution of Love and Compassion

Les Miserables is tale of injustice, politics and love and thought me everything I knew so far about the French restauration period 1815-1830, while being a truly moving story.

The story follows the fortunes of Jean Valjean, an escaped convict determined to become a better person. But his attempts to become a respected member of the society are threatened by his own conscience, when another man is arrested in his place and he becomes object of the relen
...more
Petra-X
Apr 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is a couple of years since I read and reviewed this book. I asked a question in a spoiler, "How come Valjean never recognised Thénardier no matter how many times he met him?" And just now I had an ah-ha moment and realised it was because Victor Hugo himself might well have had prosopagnosia.

How did I get to this? I reviewed Oliver Sacks' On the Move and made a point about his prosopagnosia, face blindness, I have it too. It just struck me that although it is very odd for the hero never to rec
...more
Matt
Jun 10, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic-novels, epics
“They fought hand to hand, foot to foot, with pistols, with sabers, with fists, from a distance, from up close, from above, below, everywhere at once, from the roofs of houses, from the windows of the tavern, from the basement windows of the cellars that some of them had slipped down into. It was one against sixty. The façade of Corinthe, half-demolished, was hideous to behold. The window, speckled with shot, had lost both glass and frame, and was just a shapeless hole, crazily stopped up with c ...more
Jonathan Terrington
"We can only suppose that its new life as a musical - and what an appropriate fate for that most operatic novelist - will help to bring Les Misérables to the attention of a new generation of readers, reminding them perhaps that the abuses Hugo catalogues are still alive elsewhere, awaiting their own chroniclers in the brave new world of the twenty first century." - Peter Washington, Introduction

There are few novels which one can consider true masterpieces and among the greatest pieces of writing
...more
Miriam
Aug 08, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: myfavorites
This is without question one of the most beautifully written novels I've ever read. Jean Valjean is quite possibly the most complex and compelling character you will meet in a work of literature of this magnitude, and the lives and personalities of the secondary characters are interwoven into subplots that make it almost an easy thing to get through the 1400+ pages of this book. I read the novel after seeing -- and falling madly in love with -- the musical, and this is one of the rare cases in w ...more
Matthew
Jan 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I dreamed a dream of reading this book - and I accomplished it! Surprisingly easy to read - even though it did take quite some time. Hugo does go off on quite a few tangents, but the whole experience was fantastic!
Duane
I'm obsessed with everything Les Miserables. The novel, the musical, the movies, especially the latest adaptation of the musical. I actually saw the musical before I ever read the novel. It's musical score is second to none and yes I have been known to shed tears during the performance.

The novel is epic, a timeless classic and described by some as "the greatest story ever told". I don't know about that but it is one of the most detailed and intricately constructed novels I have ever read.

The le
...more
Elyse  Walters
Aug 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I noticed a few friends currently reading this masterpiece. I read the unabridged version over 20 years ago. ( with a class )
I enjoyed reading Goodreads member, Chrissie's process with this book and the many comments.
Highly recommend reading her process, followed up by what others have to say.

I was blessed reading this -with a class - and with my daughter who was only in the 8th grade at the time. Her brilliant literature teacher got each parent and student involved ( my husband was too).
Afte
...more
Corinne
In my vacation, over the last two weeks, I visited the birthplace of Victor Hugo in Besançon, his home in Paris where his children were born, and his grave in Pantheon. I also read his “Les Miserables” again, that is 21 years after I read it for the first time in my High School in France, and I was surprised to see how differently I reacted to this book.

Then I realized the book has not changed over these 21 years, but it’s me who has changed!

At the school, I was obliged to read this book as a p
...more
Piyangie
This is one of the most beautiful and best books that is ever written about human suffering; a true masterpiece. It is no exaggeration on my part to say so, and those who have read and liked it would agree with me. I have seen the musical and a miniseries, but the book surpasses them all. In my opinion, nothing can be compared with the book. Reading this was such a rewarding experience.

While many areas including politics, progress, religion, morals are discussed in this lengthy work, the story
...more
Jason
Mar 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Speed readers; people who like to curl up to month-long books
1466 pages!! And I've isolated the best single sentence in the whole book. It describes how you die in warfare:

If anything is horrible, if there is a reality that surpasses our worst dreams, it is this: to live, to see the sun, to be in full possession of manly vigor, to have health and joy, to laugh heartily, to rush toward a glory that lures you on, to feel lungs that breathe, a heart that beats, a mind that thinks, to speak, to hope, to love; to have mother, wife, children, to have sunlight,
...more
Rebecca McNutt
Jul 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
There are many books that bring up morality and the meaning of "right" and "wrong", but none capture it as well as Les Misérables. This timeless classic needs to be remembered for as long as there are people on this earth.

SIDE NOTE: What's your favourite film adaptation of this book? I personally prefer the 1998 version but both versions are very well-made. :)
description
...more
Kirstine
I don't believe I've ever been this ambivalent about a book. I don't remember having ever read anything that I loved and hate the way I do this.

Okay, it got four stars, so maybe there are more loveable than loathsome parts, but still, thinking about it tugs my heart in both directions.

When it's good it's excellent, and completely deserves 5 stars - more even. The descriptions of the moral complexities a man is faced with are spectacular and Jean Valjean's internal struggles are always a wonder
...more
Kim

I put off tackling this novel for more years than I can remember. This was mostly because I wanted to read it in French and the length of the book daunted me somewhat. That, and the fact that every time I was in the local foreign language bookstore they didn’t seem to have all of the volumes. The fact that I was relying on a local bookstore rather than the Internet to obtain a book in French indicates how many years it’s been since I gave reading the novel any serious thought.

The last two month
...more
Edward
Jun 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It took Hugo nearly 20 years to write Les Misérables, and it shows. The novel is as comprehensive a work as is imaginable. Digressions, essays and asides make up a large percentage of the word count, and nothing seems omitted for the sake of narrative pacing. The first fifty or so pages are devoted almost entirely to the detailed personal history of a priest. Later, there are sections of comparable length containing a detailed account of the battle of Waterloo, a series of essays on the clergy, ...more
Lazaros
Feb 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone, really
“Teach the ignorant as much as you can; society is culpable in not providing a free education for all and it must answer for the night which it produces. If the soul is left in darkness sins will be committed. The guilty one is not he who commits the sin, but he who causes the darkness.”


A literary masterpiece. This is truly one of the best books I've ever read and I'm glad I took my time with it. So many characters, so many stories woven into one; a powerful & soulful book.

Victor Hugo is wor
...more
Nayra.Hassan
Mar 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic
There are moments when the soul is kneeling on its knees, regardless of the position of the body. "In prison, your bitterness increases and your heart prevails.
Screenshot-20200310-031628
In all kinds of "imprisonment" that we are thrown behind bars by "our choice" our souls will become darker Screenshot-20200310-031536
So what if you were imprisoned 19 years for stealing a loaf of bread ?
Well
This is one of the coming classics that I hate because it "made my brain go" .. When you read the eyes of world literature before the twentieth "literally" wil
...more
emma
Jun 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars.

This book is a masterpiece. I don’t even know how to review something so beautiful and complex, so I’m just gonna list a few of the MANY amazing quotes from this work of art.

Teach the ignorant as much as you can; society is culpable in not providing a free education for all and it must answer for the night which it produces. If the soul is left in darkness sins will be committed. The guilty one is not he who commits the sin, but he who causes the darkness.

I have been loving you a litt
...more
Ken
Apr 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the positives to come out if the lockdown is finally getting the time to sit down and read those books you've planned too.
Les Miserables is one of my favourite musicals, I've seen the show in London and of course watched the 2012 movie numerous times - I'm so glad that I finally tackled this mammoth tome!

The characters are so iconic in this novel.
With Jean Valjean the former convict who had served time from stealing a loaf of bread to Javet the police inspector who continually pursues him
...more
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Victor Hugo, in full Victor-Marie Hugo, poet, playwrighter, novelist, dramatist, essayist, visual artist, statesman, human rights campaigner, and perhaps the most influential exponent of the Romantic movement in France, who was the most important of the French Romantic writers. Though regarded in France as one of that country’s greatest poets, he is better known abroad for such novels as Notre-Dam ...more

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