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Les Misérables
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Group Read Archive > Les Miserables

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message 1: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth (cramptonhodnet) This is the discussion thread for the April Classics Group Read.


message 2: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth (cramptonhodnet) Just start reading when you're ready to, Val. What normally happens is that we start reading the book club choice at the beginning of the month and post comments, hopefully avoiding spoilers, at or towards the end of the month. Although there's no absolute end to the discussions - you can post beyond April too.


message 3: by Emma (new)

Emma | 14 comments I have this on my shelf and want to read it but I am not sure if I am ready to tackle it yet - I might give it a try next and see how it goes.


message 4: by Claire (new)

Claire I bought this in preparation the other day and I think I might have to start reading it pretty soon, I didn't realise how long it was!


Emma Glaisher | 4 comments I do recommend reading this book - it's very, very long and Victor Hugo is happy to take his time and explore whatever takes his fancy. But it is full of wonderfully wise observations, and is a really rewarding read if you're not in a hurry. Also, the musical makes more sense when you have all the background (and I do mean ALL!).


Chantal (chantal77) | 151 comments Mod
Started this morning. Reading the Norman Denny translation. Also bought the same version for the kindle as the Penguin hardback would probably cause an injury if I fell asleep under it (!)


message 7: by Nikki (new)

Nikki Mcgee | 209 comments I thought that I might try an audio version , unabridged it is 57 hours!


Chantal (chantal77) | 151 comments Mod
Just a spoiler-free update: exactly halfway through now and have to admit I wasn't sure it would be my sort of book -not sure why- but I truly think it's brilliant.

I hadn't seen the musical or film either so no expectations.

Like Dickens he can be a little overly sentimental and religious at times, he also has that whole madonna/whore approach to women that Dickens has but all that's typical of male 19th century authors imo and doesn't dim his genius.

I love the absolute attention to detail he puts into everything ;reading about Waterloo from the French perspective was fascinating (he was definitely a fan of Napoleon).

Deliberately not rushing through it, not that you can very easily with a tome like this. Considering it took M. Hugo 20 years to complete, it seems almost rude not to savour it :)


A.L. Butcher (alb2012) | 62 comments Read this a while ago and I know the story pretty well. I do love but I find he tends to meander a little with the politics. In some places there is a little too much political treatise. It is, however an excellent book and I shall re-read it soon.

The musical and the film are great. The musical is utterly superb. I must have seen it over a dozen times and I still cry.


Chantal (chantal77) | 151 comments Mod
That's true Alexandra. I finished it last week and found the further on I got the less patience I had with the meanderings. I was very eager to know the outcome towards the end and not so bothered about pages and pages of detail to do with the Paris sewer system for example.

Overall though, I can see why it's an established classic: in lots of ways it's a book very much of its time yet as Emma mentioned still full of timeless insight and observation.

A great read, but wouldn't recommend to anyone in a hurry or who wants to zoom through their reading challenge :)


message 11: by Gail (new) - rated it 4 stars

Gail | 126 comments I have finally struggled through this and it has certainly put my reading challenge behind schedule! I still have not managed to see the film and don't feel inspired to do so at the moment but am open to someone trying to persuade me to do so!


Linda (mrslhall) | 22 comments I listened to the audio book over Christmas and it was long. I did find my attention wandered when he meandered off, at first I kept rewinding back but after a while I didn't bother! I too loved the book but lost patience with the meanderings. I was half way through the book when I went to see the movie (I had never seen the stage version) and I loved the movie and it gave me the motivation to finish the book. I think that this was one of the very rare occasions where the movie complemented the book and didn't make you irritated about what they got wrong, changed or left out. All round a great experience and I feel proud of myself for having read it.


message 13: by Sandy (new)

Sandy | 20 comments What is the home Paige's web site where I can find the selection's for August?


message 14: by Sandy (new)

Sandy | 20 comments I thought the chapter on The Bishop's Candlestick's was magnificent. I am an old lady who was brought up on War and Peace, The Brothers Karamazov, and Remembrance of Things Past. Therefore, I love long books which discuss ideas, as well as plot and character. After I saw 5 minutes of the play which I liked much better than the movie, I thought, "there is the first 500 pages of the book condensed into 2 songs.
I understand why the movie is different than the book since I am adapting a 205 page book into a movie script and I must make major changes in order to make the script only 120 pages long.


Chantal (chantal77) | 151 comments Mod
That sounds fascinating Sandy. What type of book is it?


Charlotte (charley_100) | 322 comments I read this in Feb/March this year. Despite having sung s many of the songs in chamber choir at school, and having seen so many musicals over the years, I had never seen or read this until recently. I have to admit that the book frequently drove me batty. Sometimes I was so engrossed in the story. When you get past all the meanderings as people are calling them, the bare bones of the plot are fantastic. There are some wonderful scenes, very emotive narrative, but the waffling in-between about monarchy, monasteries and sewers just bogged the story down. I started skim-reading over chapters. You got to know pretty early into a chapter whether it was going to be a few pages of random info before the characters appeared, or if it was a whole chapter of it, which I would have to get through as quickly as possible.

So, I guess I don't really agree with the need to savour a book that took 20 years to write. He wrote it in such a different time in history, a time when people didn't have the instant access to information that we do. Didn't have the visual aids to help us imagine another time and place, so everything.....and i mean EVERYTHING(!)....needs describing. I am a big fan of classic works, but Tolstoy, Pasternak and now Hugo all detail it beyond my attention span!!!!

The movie was wonderful, so probably one of the few examples i have found were the movie outweighed the book. The songs are beautiful and have a strong meaning with me, connecting me to my school years. Glad to have read it but never again!!


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