Hugo describes early 19th-century France with a sweeping power that gives his novel epic stature. Among the most famous chapters are the account of the battle of Waterloo and Valjean's flight through the Paris sewers.
(P)1996 Blackstone Audiobooks
What a treat to have this book read to me! I read it years ago but always stumbled over the French words. It was great to have a narrator who handled the text so well.
I agree that some passages are quite long, but that's the way Hugo wrote it. I look forward to the next two installments.
It amazes me that some reviewers didn't like the narrator. I thought he was over-the-top great. At one point in the story, he flawlessly imitated the voices of seven different characters in rapid conversation. Warning: this book is a marathon listen, but well worth the time. A mainly Christian worldview, with a little antisemitism thrown in at the end, typical for the time it was written, but a great story, nonetheless.
The genius of Hugo (and Dickens) is that he understands that everyone is the hero of their own life. They aren't just accessories in someone else's. In that sense he's one of the world's most democratic writers. The story of each character is worth listening to for its own sake.
It sure would be nice to hear this story in a language we can understand. My son and I tried to listen and got frustrated because we couldn't understand the narrator. The accent is way too thick to be able to follow the narration. Disappointing.
All I knew of Les Miserables was what I learned in the musical of the same name! I found this audible selection very entertaining and thought provoking. I really enjoyed learning "the backround" to a play that I truly loved. Though very long, I found it held my interest for the most part...though the description of the nunnery seemed to last forever! I will definitely get part 2 next month.
this reading of Victor Hugo's Les Miserable was pleasant to listen to, and the narrator of the story Lively and varied. However there were times when I could tell it was only a semi-professional production, as I heard Pages turning or the narrator fumble. Nevertheless, the pacing was good, and he did voices for the characters, which I tend to enjoy. The story itself is an absolute treat to read. You get the best aspects of Storytelling and Hugo's philosophy. it is an intellectual and lyrical story, challenging both the mind and the spirit. However, it is not difficult to digest or understand, Hugo is a master Storyteller. I highly recommend anyone who is a poet at heart, and anyone who loves to think critically and seize life by the reins.
I would listen again. It's a great review of basic principles set in a compelling story. As you listen, you feel the experiences of Jean val Jean.
Obviously Jean val Jean was my favorite. He learns and experiences so much and I hope by God's grace that if I were in similar circumstances that I would respond with love and forgiveness also.
As I read or listen (I've both read and listened to this book) I think of how fully and completely God has forgiven me. Since God has forgiven me for my rebellion against Himself, my creator, how can I not also forgive other men that have offended me. God has offered forgiveness, pardon, and freedom. He offers this to anyone who repents/believes. His offer is documented in writing - He wrote it in the Bible.
Being completely new to Hugo's work, having never read abridgments or seen the movie, I was truly delighted with Wilber's translation and the English turn of phrase common to the 1860s.
Hugo had a fantastic sense of humor that Fredrick Davidson really maximized with a dry, satirical presentation.
The unabridged edition is long. Very long. But the history and commentary on the era sprinkled with humor then masterfully woven into the turn of the plot are worth every minute.
Wow what an great book let down slightly by the narrator. Now I'm not a great reader but I like stories now this book has many stories inside that could be books on there own. sometimes it feel like you have to drag yourself through chapters but worth the time spent. Part of the problem may be down to the narration and it's lack of character some of the ladies voices are draining at best but still a great listen
That is a great way how to 'read' classic you don't think you could face every night. I found the narrator little difficult to get used to at the start but by approx. 5th chapter I couldn't imagine anyone else to read it. The story is good and audible finally intoduced me in full.
It is a good listen for anyone with a long commute, traveler or someone that just has a lot if spare time on their hands to listen to an audio book. It is a classic novel with a collection of extremely long tangents. When reading the book you can go a dozen or so pages off topic before you carry back on with the plot so the audio book certainly makes that more enjoyable.
I don't know whether this book is now simply outside of its era but I found the prose very boring. It reminded me of Dickens in that the underling story is fantastic but it's delivery was very difficult to follow. I think the fact that this is an audio book exacerbated the problem. The author seems to go into every intricate details and minutia that really aren't necessary. There is no wonder that it is such a long book. Just to be clear I haven't watched the recent film so my opinions weren't colored by preconceptions and I actually usually prefer longer novels as it allows the author time to fully develop characters. In this case though the author has strayed too far in that direction. I often wished he'd just get on with the story. I have rarely read abridged versions of anything but think on this occasion that is exactly the treatment the book deserves. All in all a good story ruined by being too drawn out and over long.
"Not finished with this book, yet!"
I have taken a break from this book, to listen to other audiobooks but I may get back to it. It is a classic and anyone who has seen the musical or film will know the general story. But oh it is so long. There are long passages such as the battle of Waterloo, which serve to introduce a minor character or some anecdote that gives reason for someone's actions later in life.
I love all the passages that feature the main characters but some of the rest I'd gladly do without. I can safely say that I would never have read this book, for this reason audiobooks are perfect, for me, to listen to while I'm driving or in the gym. I may get back to this some day but for now I'm listening to something shorter and modern!
I was surprised at Frederick Davidson's narration at first and found his accent and deep voice a bit unusual but as the book progressed I quite enjoyed it and his voice characterisations are spot on!
"A fantastic journey."
I had put off listening to this audio book even though I bought it a year ago, due to the length, and one review which stated it took them 5 mths to listen to it! But I am a huge a Les Miseables fan having seen the stage show 3 times and the been to 25th Anniversary concert, and can sing almost word for word the score! And now the new film version! ............... I have been to cinema to see 4 times!! So it was time for to read or listen to the book. I started reading the book on my kindle and thought it would take me forever to get through so I turned to the audio book. It was brilliant, and the narrator is great, I found it a pleasure to listen to. I listened going out running, while doing my housework, in bed, in the car, on the train, really whenever I could, (thanks to my iphone I could listen just about anywhere!!) I just couldn't put it down! There are some long descriptive parts that do drag on and lose your interest, like the internal workings of the Paris sewer system! But the main story is riviting and fills in all the blanks of the stage and film versions. It took me just over a week to listen to it all!! And needless to say my family of husband and 6 kids are delighted I am finished!! The last chapter is especially intense and I was in floods of tears (as always!), (I don't want to give anything away in case someone doesn't know the story....!) I feel my Les Miserables journey is complete..............I now know the FULL story and it is fantastic!!
I first read this book 30 years ago when a young teenager and recall saving the last few pages because I did not want it to end, but I cannot say the same about this audiobook. The narrator has been mentioned by other reviewers; I found his supercilious tone grated and in some portions of the story, where we divert from the main theme into a history of France, it was impossible not to switch off mentally. Initially I tried rewinding but as I know the story have eventually just pushed on. I have not yet finished listening for the reasons given above but will definitely return to the book in future. Please do not let this put you off Les Miserable..it can be a wonderful story.
"The most boring narration ever!"
I love the stories in Les Miserables. I've read the book a couple if times, seen the stage play half a dozen times and will be seeing the film on Thursday. How sad then that this crashingly boring narration has meant that I haven't been able to get past the first part. It sounds like the narrator is thinking that there's nothing interesting in this novel. I can't send it back so one of these days I might try to struggle through, but then again, probably not. Don't bother folks. There are better options out there.
"Difficult to know what to expect sometimes"
OK, so this is a classic. Hugo created two of the most memorable characters in literature - a heroic criminal and a villainous policeman - ironies abound and the plot is excellent.
But it is a product of it's time and modern readers may be surprised by the number and LENGTH of the side stories that really don't add that much to the central story. If I was criticizing this as a modern book, I would accuse the author of an incredible amount of padding in order to stretch the contents to fill several TV series when the option was bought... And perhaps this is not so far from the truth - it would not surprise me if the book was originally serialized for publication in a periodical...
Perhaps you think my 2 stars is too harsh, and I'm just someone who is judging the book in comparison to my foreshortened experience of the story via a musical or a film - and there would be some truth to this. I'm quite a big fan of the film version starring Liam Neeson. But I would still defend my opinion that a readers digest version would be an improvement and the book could use some serious editing.
On the plus side the narrator is pretty good (although a little effeminate for my taste.
"Epic tale of revolutionary France"
Not for the fainthearted! Around 57 hours. Worth persevering with. The underlying story is brilliant, with the characters being well portrayed. Background details are amazing , quite apart from the story itself. If you don't like detail, such as names, places, dates etc., which tie in with historical fact usually, then possibly a good abridgement might be better for you. Personally, next time I listen to this, I will fast forward some of the chapters.
There is plenty of action, but it does drag in parts. You have battles, revolution, a great hero, some tender romantic moments, bloodthirsty bits, scary bits...it's all there. Well worth persevering with.
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