"Think you know the story? Think again."
Yes, it is long. Yes, you know the basic plot. Yes, you've seen it on stage and on screen. But there is so much more to the book than to the musical! The stage production is great, but it only scratches the surface. There is so much thinking behind each character. Their reflections and actions are so rich, complex and profound. You can always take something different if you listen again. I have lost count of how many times I have listened to Jean Valjan arguing with himself whether or not to turn himself in. It is a fantastic story which manages to belong and represent its time so well without ever ceasing to be relevant. Victor Hugo's preface about why books like this are needed says it all. For as long as there is injustice and miserable lives, it will be worth listening, reading or watching this mastere piece again.
I remember reading this book many years ago and thoroughly enjoying at the time and had always intended revisiting. Having long journeys to work I thought it would be a quick win to listen to. I am so disappointed as I find the narration so boring despite restarting several times. Have decided to give it a miss for now.
I notice there are several versions of this available and if anyone can recommend a good narrator it would be much appreciated.
"Phenomenal story but a test of endurance at times"
The narrator has a very laid-back style which I initially found distracting but quickly settled to. He has a great ability to distinctly voice so many of the characters.
It's a monumental story, filled with a continual stream of regular digressions which do rather go on (I imagine the book would be considerably shorter but for these).
Quite a few to choose from - Valjean and the bishop, Cosette's rescue from the Tennardiers, Javert's pursuit of Valjean, the Paris uprising, the list goes on. The last few chapters are very emotive and should be listened to in one sitting if possible.
60h in one sitting? No thanks!
Can feel like a test of endurance at times, but it's well worth persisting with.
"Shame about the Narrator"
I will not try any more audiobooks narrated by Frederick Davidson if there are significant quantities of French involved. I speak French fluently having lived in France for 4 years, but I cannot understand more than one word out of three of his attempts at French. It's like listening to someone chewing tobacco while delivering a speech in Latin. He does fine for the most, the English language far outweighs the French in this production, but his French is abominable.
"A true great"
A classic read that is well presented. I was recommended this book 20 years ago. i knew i would never get round to reading it myself. To get the chance of someone read it to you so well while you drive the car is good.
My only criticism of the work (and it is a minor niggle) was that it goes off on rambling tangents that can last for an hour or more. An example is his description of the (entire) battle of Waterloo. this is to add background to one minor character and one scene. That said my knowledge of the battle is now enhanced and I did enjoy this tangent! The descriptive prose lends well to these ramblings and holds the interest.
Ignore what is said in comments about the narrator's reading (in this and other books he narrates), he puts a great effort and all the characters come alive with his take on them. all are distinct and easy to follow. I'm going on to F. Davidson's version of War and Peace next.
A marvellous audiobook - enjoy
"Classic made more powerful through the spoken word"
The characters & environment made more vivid
This is a massive tome, that I didn't want to end.
Benefits enormously from the audio book format.
"Avoid This Narrator"
I found I was unable to listen to it because of the narrator's voice. There was a total lack of feeling and an air of condescension in his delivery.
When I decided I'd had enough and gave up on it.
Only if my life depended upon it.
Need you ask?
I am a lover of 19th century French fiction and admire Hugo greatly, it's such a shame that his work has been let down by the narrator.
The story is great, a true epic, but the book would have benefited from a decent editor. The narration was not for me - to be honest I can't stand FD's voice so have a listen before you buy.
"tedious, drawling delivery"
Hugo - yes
Davidson - no. what a tedious, drawling, monotonous delivery
This was the first Hugo i have read/listened to, though i am familiar with many other French classics eg Balzac. The story line was good, though padded out with history & political opinion. i have yet to be able to judge if this is typical of Hugo. These deviations were interesting, but the mode of delivery made the whole thing a complete chore to finish. I wish i had returned it!
"The clue is in the title"
The relentless dreariness.
Thank goodness that's over!
A bit more characterisation
Go for the abridged version, this one went on far too long