"This is a must read book!!"
I would actually probally advise most people to read the abridged version if they are just interested in the book as a fictional story as I thought the writter had alot of un-needed description and historicle back ground included. I had 10 weeks off work so I went for it - un-abridged - whole version - Awesome Achievement!!!
Whether you have already watched the film or seen the stage production you really should read the book, its a gripping read.
Valjean leaves. Marius realizes Valjean saved his life. Marius and Cosette depart to find him. Valjean is dying in a local convent, Cosette and Marius rush in to bid farewell. Valjean hands Cosette a written confession of his past life telling her everything.
The End - Without giving too much away - I cried ;'(
"Unabridged v abridged?"
I did want to read/hear the unabridged version as it felt like I hadn't really 'read' it otherwise so I chose this recording. I'd already listened to Hunchback so was aware of Victor Hugo's digressions, but that didn't prepare me for the length and frequency of the ones here. It feels like every time you reach a climax in the story, you get a hundred pages on the war, or on convents. If you do manage to pay attention, you can find his witty gems, but a lot of the time I find I'm tuning out and then missing the story pick-up, or the introduction of a new character and then have to mess about with the rewind buttons. I expect this is a book where the abridged version works well because you're not missing the 'story' at all. At least with the unabridged audio version you do know what you've missed so that contributes to your knowledge of the book, but if you're going to end up skipping bits, it'd be quicker to do it with a hardcopy of the book!
I enjoyed discovering the real characters behind the successful musical's 2-dimensional ones. I love Victor Hugo's conversational style and his wit.
His intonation is odd, his voice rising at the end of sentences. He's a noisy breather too.
A hearty shortening of the digressions, leaving only the essence of what Hugo is trying to say with them, and the funny lines.
"I really wouldn't bother"
In places there are moments when the story-teller does relay semi interesting narratives but this is interwoven into long lists of people ,events and such nonsense as who wore what on unimportant days. The long lists of titles, names and their social standing simply sent my brain screaming and begging for mercy. I would rather face the guillotine then listen to this book again -
"Could have been better"
The translation was a bit variable with some oddly chosen words.
Jean Valjean is the main character of the book and his journey is a fascinating one.
The narrator did occasionally have some strange ways of emphasising sentences, which was a bit distracting.
I would like to listen to more Victor Hugo books now.
"A difficult listen but well worth it"
An amazing and moving story set in a spectacular period of history - but how I struggled with the narration. I started volume 1 five times just to try to acclimatise. Finished several months later, I think it was worth it.
"Not what I thought!"
I don't know what I was expecting to find with this book... maybe after seeing the film of the musical I was expecting a more in-depth story! little did I realise how deep this would actually go.
If your a lover of history, the Napoleonic Wars with a little love and tragedy thrown in then this is the book for you! so much is done explaining what was happening at the different times of the character's that by then time it got back to the story I had forgotten what was happening. If the book was abridged to just the story with a little detail then I think it would have made this for me, but it was just to deep and I ended up now enjoying it... But if this is the book for you enjoy :-)
"Phew. Finished it :-)"
After 56 hours, I feel I have spent a significant part of my life with this book.
I had seen the musical and wanted to know more so bought this audio book
Just like the series Lost, the story is great but didn't need as much padding but I am glad I didn't skip any I did feel really emotional at the end- a wonderful ending
When reading the prose, Frederick Davidson can be a bit grating and sound a bit pompous. However when he does the character voices, he comes into his own. The Thenardier is fabulously threathening, Javert sounds great, the women also, but it is really the children particularly Gavroche who sound fantastic. Hearing Frederick Douglas do the voice of Gavroche really breaks your heart.
Having seen the show three times and the film once and been bowled over each time, I knew however that I would never be able to read the massive classic in book form. Audiobooks are so much part of my life now, travelling or doing the gardening or housework, so this was the solution. I checked out the sample with trepidation as the reader is so important. I wasn't disappointed. Frederick Davidson has a lively, engaging voice, able to to convey the many characters of both sexes, all ages and backgrounds. There is a lot of description - of people, landscape and buildings - as well as the vast sweep of historical information and for the most part he succeeds in getting this across. I understand that he went into recordings with no rehearsal, so he reads the book as if for the first time, with a freshness that brings his discovery to the listener. Sometimes his pronounciation is strained, but then the eye on the page would also struggle with French names. And once or twice I am sure I heard him burp as he took a glass of water! But I feel he is a friendly companion on my journey through this marvellous story.
"Very slow to start"
This book took some time for me to get into, but it picked up as the storey unfolded. It is one of the longest books i have ever read and i enjoyed it despite its slow start.
I feel the narrater could have done a better job over all but this could be due to the length of the book.
I have not seen the musical or the film. I doubt if I would have picked up the book to read, simply because of the time required to read it, but I have no regrets at all about having bought the full audiobook. Yes, there are some lengthy digressions, and I did wonder about the relevance of the history of the many convents of Paris, but was engrossed by the description of the Battle of Waterloo, and the journey through the sewers of Paris. I wished on a number of occasions that I could see a map of Paris as it was at the time, so that I could follow the footsteps of the characters with greater understanding. This was incredibly good value for one credit and I recommend it highly.