I loved the movie but hated the play. I was nervous about listening to a 60 hour book. What if it was more like the play and I hated it? But I really had nothing to worry about. This book is like neither the movie, nor the play. It is rich in history and emotion. It meanders off for hours at a time, then comes neatly back to pick up exactly where it left off without losing any steam or momentum. Not only is it a captivating and heartbreaking story, it is a first hand look into French history.
After awhile you may start to feel that you aren't getting anywhere in the story because of all the side stories. But don't despair. It is all there for a reason and it is well worth sticking to it.
If you're looking for something entertaining but with great breadth, this is your book. I found the narrator to be spectacular and obviously, Victor Hugo's writing is superb. Its a long listen, but worth every minute.
I really enjoyed the back story to the characters. It made their actions truly come to life and seem like a real possibility. When watching the movie, I question the extreme coincidence that makes everything work together. The coincidence is still there in the book but is plausible. The smallness of the world is what ties everything together even when the vastness of the world diverts attention.
The basic story is well known through movies and the musical but the intricate parts that Hugo spends time building up, explaining and then tying together are a real masterpiece. I felt we had an entire book on the background of Waterloo that made me wonder why we were there until Thenaldier showed up and then it made sense. If you look close enough, the whole world is tied together in the lives of these characters and nothing is wasted.
As we got closer to the meat of the book I didn't want to stop listening. I would find excuses to drive so I could catch another chapter. My morning walks became longer and longer. To listen straight through for 60 hours would be ludicrous though so I could not. It took me a month and even now, I miss spending time with Jean Valjean.
A story worth the journey. A journey worth the time.
Love to read, and Audible has made the two-hour daily commute enjoyable!
The book is very complicated - about 1/4 of the book are "digressions" where Hugo discusses topics as diverse as Waterloo, the Paris sewer system, slang, the penal system, politics, cloisters, Paris rich, Paris poor and more. While these passages are hard to wade through - they prepare the reader for later passages, and add a little suspense as we want to get back to the story of Jean Valjean and others.
Nothing is absolute with Hugo, he examines both sides of issues - he may rail on Catholic cloisters, but Valjean's road to salvation starts with an act of kindness by a priest, and later he and Cosette are living in a convent.
Overall, the book is about what is good/evil and the possibility of redemption but how society's conventions may get in the way. While reading the book, I was struck to the similarity in construction to "War and Peace" (a fabulous story with many digressions). This makes sense since Tolstoy and Hugo were contemporaries and "Les Misérables" was published 7 years before Tolstoy's masterpiece.
The Narrator was Phenominal but the unabridged version has way too much dead space that takes away from the story - long, drawn out sections that don't take the reader anywhere. I suspect the abridged version would eliminate a lot of that. Great Story.
EXCELLENT!! His ability to change voice was great - you always knew who's part he was speaking throughout the entire book...even the progression of the aging characters.
It is, and yes, can't wait. Wanted to finish the book first and finally did last night.
I first read this book in high school English for extra credit. I was not a "reader" at all like my parents were and when I picked it up to read it a second time-they were shocked. I have continued to like the story line and have seen the musical 7 times. I mention this so you realize that I am partial and would love hearing this book read to me since you already have my "attention". Grin. That being said, I love the voice of the reader and by listening to the book, I have remembered more parts that were not in the musical and appreciated what a huge and successful undertaking it was to make this book into that awesome musical.
I just saw the movie last night and will keep this book downloaded so I can go back to it when I choose.
A classic all should listen to for so many ways I am not equipped to express in fairness.
I am a Christian young man who loves to listen to audiobooks at work.
This was an amazing book. I usually prefer casual books, that don't require much thought, but are rather read for entertainment purposes. I don't know why exactly I picked this book, other than the fact that I loved the narrator, George Guidall's work on other books and the book was on sale when I purchased it. I won't spoil anyone with plot details, but the book made me a better person. Seeing the change in some of the main characters caused me to be a more charitable person and since reading this book I have started to make plans to bring joy to people's life this Christmas (2012). I praise God for Victor Hugo and the talent that was bestowed upon him. Everything about this book was great. I am a much better person after listening to this recording.
Jean Valjean was my favorite character but I related more to Marius
Guillermond (not sure how to spell it, but the old grandpa of Marius)
The characters are so well developed you feel like you know them. There are some great moral players here, starting with the bishop and, eventually, Jean Valjean.
My biggest problem is that Hugo tends to go off on side topics and not come back for awhile. I swear he spent 1 1/2 hours on the sewers of Paris. And while Waterloo is interesting, it's not two hours interesting--especially when it doesn't add that much to the story. There are 1/2 dozen topics that he just goes on and on about without really adding to the story. This added hours and hours to an already long book. George Guidall is one of my favorite readers, but I wonder if the abridged version wouldn't work a little better.
Also, I thought the ending was a bit too much. Almost felt like a Hallmark classic...
Great narrator; I have listened to other books he read. I loved the Les Miserables movie but I wanted to read the book, too. With 60 hours of narration, this was the ideal way to read the book while driving, housework, etc. This was my first Audible book and my first review.
Jon val Jon (spelling probably incorrect!)
No; 60 hours long.
I love the opera version of Les Mis. I was hesitant to read the book because I did not think it would be as entertaining. Wrong! If anything, Victor Hugo paints the characters and the scenes so vividly, I can't stop listening! This is easily becoming my favorite book.