Les Mis: Love. Dreams. Freedom.
Valjean and Javert continually teach the lessons of love, grace, and the pursuit of what is good and noble. The characters are vast and complex; I love that Javert is an antagonist who is simply following his fixed philosophies of Good and Evil. Javert's insights before his downfall are awe-inspiring and get me every time.
Victor Hugo is wordy, but it's part of the charm. I've read an abridged version, an unabridged "brick" of a novel, and now I have listened to it here. This is my favorite classic novel, my favorite musical - it has so many lessons to teach readers.
George Guidall is one of my favorite narrators of all time, and Julie Rose's translation of Hugo's masterpiece is superb artistry. This makes for a winning combination. My interest was sustained throughout the very long book, and immediately upon finishing it I bought George Guidall's narration of the unabridged version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. I always appreciate good literature and I stand in absolute awe at the literary genius of Hugo.
I know a lot of people like the translation because it keeps the book from getting too "stuffy", but this is a literary masterpiece. I like formal wording for formal passages.
I've loved the musical and various on-screen adaptations since I was young. I still loved this book, but it was just too long for me. The unabridged version (which this is) has too much in the way of descriptions of the French revolution, wars, and sewer systems for my liking. Others may love that, though! The reading was really quite good, and the story is timeless.
I really appreciated the narration of George Guidall. He was an excellent choice of actor to record this important work. He has great character voices, inflections, masterful skill in being the "one man show" of Les Miserable. (I hope he received some kind of award or recognition!) The reason why many start Les Miserables but never finish is that between Hugo's verbose language and the complicated and continuous (to modern eyes) French language references make it a very dense read. Yet, if you approach this book as if you were sitting in a big leather armchair before a fire with someone such as George Guidall reading it to you, with all the phrasing and correct pronunciations in context, Hugo's pageant opens up to you. Not only is it a great work of literature, it is profoundly deep, entertaining, sentimental and moving. If the musical/operetta version (excellent in it's own genre) Les Miserables is a six-inch ruler, the book is a yard-stick!
So many - off the top, where Jean Val Jean finds Cossette in the forest when she is getting water, later when Marius falls in love with her in the Luxembourg Gardens; the characterization of Marius' grandfather, the description of the Battle of Waterloo. The night Jean Val Jean agonizes over whether or not he should turn himself in when a man of mistaken identity may be condemned in his place. All fantastic.
Of the many memorable scenes, my favorite is where the three orphaned boys take shelter in the Elephant of the Bastille during a thunderstorm. It was months ago that I originally read it, yet it continues to haunt me. It was touchingly adorable, funny and horrifying all at once.
As a joke - You haven't cried so much since Bambi's Mother died! Seriously - the story that asks and answers our universal questions about life - with one word.
Well worth the value if you get it as a single purchase or on a membership. It took me a year to complete the audio version and that was with being able to listen to it at extended periods at a time. And what was the first thing I did after wiping away my last tear on the last page? (so to speak) Hit the download button again to listen to the first part. I didn't want to leave and there is so much more to be gained again and again. I'm so glad this version of this book exists in this world. It truly has been a blessing in my life. If you can, please do invest the time. I hope you will find it equally moving.
Awesome human story
The rescue of Colette
The forgiveness shown Valjean by the Bishop over the candlesticks theft
Listening to the dulcet tones of George Guidall convey Les Miserables made this audio book stellar. His perfect language skills; his emotion; his incredible character-capturing tones. . . they all lend the most compelling ambiance to this book. And to hear the entire story is something no one should miss. Tho' the screenwriters did a perfect job of condensing the basic story to the movie, to know all the background and the human story Hugo was telling is what makes Les Miserables a book for all. Besides, you get a pretty good history of Napoleonic wars. I would've had a hard time READING those parts, Guidall made it a joy. I listen while I do through-hole soldering (my job), and it made work something I couldn't wait to do.
Yes, It exceeded my expectations. A classic tale using contemporary American phraseology but not noticeably modern.
Jean val Jean, The evolution of this character embodies everything Hugo is trying to illustrate about his views of how man and the society should evolve.
No but I definitely would select his work again. An excellent narration, perfect transitions between scenes and characters. Very well done!
No, too long to even consider that
I read the print version years ago and figured it would be easier to listen, than try to read it again and I was correct. Had the narration been less than excellent I may not have made it through. This is really several books in one. The story of Jean val Jean, Cozette, Javier, etc., A history of the French revolutions 1789-1833, A political commentary on the evolution of French politics from King Louis through Bonaparte, through the restoration and fall, and lastly a social commentary of Paris during that era. Hugo has an extremely loquacious writing style so be prepared to endure all of these digressions. Nevertheless, the plot of the book and the development of the characters is superb. A skilled editor could remove half the text and nothing important would be lost.
Yes! This is my first audible book. I feel that I have entered a new & wonderful world.
Everything was spectacular about this book.
George Guidall is a great reader. A good reader is crucial to the book's enjoyment.
Les Mis is a classic, but there's no doubt there are parts that can drag. Having George Guidall's amazing voice helps those parts fly by painlessly.
Number 2 out of all books I've ever read.
Jean ValJean was my favorite character because of his decision to change and to stick to his word
No, because the book is much too long but quite necessary to the story
Listen to this book!