Hugo's sympathy with the oppressed; the grand scope of the novel; Hugo's gift for fine metaphors and aphorisms; some of the dramatic scenes; the sensitive narration.
Absurdly long, detailed tedious digressive essays on things like the battle of Waterloo, the history of convents, the history and geography of the Parisian sewers; hard-to-believe characters who act in unbelievable ways; corny melodrama and sentimentality; excessively long and repetitious accounts of almost everything due, it seems, to Hugo's sheer delight in showing off his poetic inventiveness.
I have great tolerance for long 19th century novels. But so often I found myself thinking: come on Victor, you've said everything you've got to say abou this event, character, situation, action, motivation, relationship, dilemma. All you're doing now is just repeating yourself using alternative metaphors. Let's get moving! I also found the plot pretty silly in places; a lot depends on coincidence and people acting in unbelievable ways.
Hugo's philosophical reflections, which abound throughout, are sometimes interesting; but he's too much in love with paradox and coupling unexpected antitheses--a tendency which has bedeviled French writing ever since.
The narration is good. I liked the translation: it employs up-to-date language which makes the novel less stodgy than it might otherwsie be.
Say something about yourself!
I bought this audio book as my favorite movie of all time is Les Mis with Liam Neeson.(no singing) I finally gave up after I listed to several chapters of war background. This is 60 hours but is really is 15 hour story with 45 hours of background of all sorts of stuff. Some is interesting but I finally stopped listening after about 24 hours.
I almost never write reviews but this work was so great I felt that I owed it to honor, post-mortem the author, the translator, and last but not least the narrator. Yet how do I write a review on a book that is a Literary Classic already and has been reviewed by countless individuals certainly more qualified than myself? How could I bring anything new to this work? I won't try to attempt this other than point out the excellence of the narrator and some other aspects.
In such an epic masterpiece you need a masterful narrator and I've found George Guidall to be top of his class, par none. Mr. Guidall drew out each character, adding subtle inflections, cadences that brought life to the story in what I imagined Victor Hugo intended when he wrote the book. I can't imagine narrating a book 50+ hours and being so consistent as Mr. Guidall. There was no evidence whatsoever of weariness, he was in a word, awesome.
We all are familiar with movies we've seen that are much longer than the traditional 80 minutes, that perhaps were 3 hours but the time just flew by. This is how I see this version. I have a long commute and with a companion like this audiobook I was taken away to a time long ago, to a character of the highest nobility with a heart as tender as they come - Jean Valjean, a nemesis representing the anthesis of grace - Javert, and redemption all played out on a scale as large as life itself. I was never anxious for it to end and was left feeling like I was leaving someone I got to know that I wouldn't see again. I didn't want to go, I didn't want it to end.
This is and will be I suspect, one of the best audiobooks I have listened to. I have listened to quite a few up to this point.
Thank you Mr. Hugo, Julie Rose, Mr. George Guidall and finally Audible.com.
The reader is one of my favorite. Although Hugo can be exceptionally wordy, the reader's voice, inflections and style make it easy to listen, enjoy and just absorb the intent of what the author is communicating.
When Jean Valjean meets Cosette in the woods and rescues her from the Thenardier's.
This story cannot be abridged and still possess the same power. By today's standards, Hugo can be difficult to read as he is very wordy, and the historical narrative is long and detailed. However, it is integral to understanding the significance of why the characters were motivated to do what they did. The story, the characters - everything about this book is phenomenal. Those who are diligent and listen to the entire story will reap the rewards. Also, the narrator must be given major credit for making the experience so enjoyable. This is the best reading of this great tale out there.
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)
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.
Amazing character development and wonderful story telling
60+ hours so no, but I've listened to 10 hours straight and really didn't want to stop
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.
Les Miserables is very much akin to scripture, and no doubt inspired from on high! A beautiful reading! Delightful from beginning to end!
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.