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Publisher's Summary

One of the great classics of world literature and the inspiration for the most beloved stage musical of all time, Les Misérables is legendary author Victor Hugo’s masterpiece. This extraordinary English version by renowned translator Julie Rose captures all the majesty and brilliance of Hugo’s work. Here is the timeless story of the quintessential hunted man—Jean Valjean—and the injustices, violence, and social inequalities that torment him.

©2008 Random House (P)2011 Recorded Books, LLC

Critic Reviews

“Rich and gorgeous. This is the [translation] to read.” (Times (London))

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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Story

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I think this book changed my life

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

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.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Jean Valjean was my favorite character but I related more to Marius

Which character – as performed by George Guidall – was your favorite?

Guillermond (not sure how to spell it, but the old grandpa of Marius)

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Casey
  • Bridgeport, WV, United States
  • 04-26-12

You can't beat Hugo.

Any additional comments?

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.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Elise
  • Springville, UT, United States
  • 11-01-11

There Is No Greater Book Written By Man.

Les Miserables is very much akin to scripture, and no doubt inspired from on high! A beautiful reading! Delightful from beginning to end!

15 of 21 people found this review helpful

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Holy unabridged.

I thought I had read the unabridged version previously. Apparently I had not. The actual meat of the story is beautiful. The elaborate discussion of the workings of the Paris sewer system is not. I did feel the narrator did a good job with different voices. He was able to differentiate between the upper and lower class voices.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Not an easy audiobook but well worth the effort

The side notes are too numerous which make it hard to enjoy the flow of the story. No doubt they are educational and provides an insightful look into the lives and times of Paris in those days. Overall they weigh down the story and indeed it might even be said that the Jean Valjean story is merely a vehicle for Victor Hugo to display his amazing knowledge of France.

The audio book version perhaps makes it less painful to plough through the side notes. It's easier to stay the course; I would probably have skimmed through the side notes in the book, but one can't do that in the audio book.

On the other hand the audio book version is not easy to follow given the many long sentences, French names, and Latin sayings. I found it necessary to purchase the e-book and make constant references to it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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The pinnacle of historical fiction

Don't be jaded - just enjoy the prose and the ideals - remember he was a political exile when he wrote it...

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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The Translator Makes It Go

What did you love best about Les Misérables: Translated by Julie Rose?

Having enjoyed the musical, the Movie with Liam Neesan, and the Movie-Musical, it was time to go for the real thing! Wow! Hugo's book has the narrative story I was familiar with, but I think he intended to communicate much more than that. He loves France, and puts a good spin on both it's revolution and it's riots. He loves battle history, and politics, and even sewage systems, apparently --for he wrote about them all at great length, caring not how long it took! In all this, I don't see how I could have stayed engaged except for the translation --From French to English is hard enough, the translator must also communicate the flavor of the prose and the personality of the author. And then, she must update very old colloquial language. And then she must add the colloquialisms that a modern English reader would understand. She does all, brilliantly.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Les Misérables: Translated by Julie Rose?

[if you have never seen the movie nor the musical, the following might contain spoilers for you. Like wise, if you have seen the movie or the musical, you might find it takes the fun from the book if you read below about some of the differences in the book. Read at your own risk]. Hugo loves irony, and no character is more ironic than Thenardieau (spelling?). He is consistently self-centered, wicked, and opportunistic. Yet, it is he who saves the life Marius, Marius' father, and Jen Valjen, without intending to do anything but enrich himself, in every case. <br/><br/>The irony of Javer's suicide comes alive in the book --in a way neither the movie nor the musical adequately explained. Javer came to a point where he chose to do the "right thing" but it was "against the law." He could not live with two "right" ways, the way of the law and the way of a higher morality than the law. He could not receive grace, if you will. He lost his identity. He has alway existed believing that the law was the highest light and the only guide for life. Now, he found that he had violated and believed he had done right. He would rather die than seek to live without the law. He "resigned" from the service of God by killing himself. Irony within Irony.<br/><br/>Likewise, the death of Eponine, which, portrayed in the movie, was seen as a selfless matter, was not that in the book. She wanted to die for Marius, yes, but only because she knew he loved another. And, she wanted him to die also, and had even arranged for it, or so she thought. She did die, but he did not. She wanted to get rid of his ability to live with Cossette, but only insured it.<br/><br/>I could go on, but there is so much irony, that you will have to hear it for yourself.

What does George Guidall bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The narrator was up to the challenge of a very, long book. He voiced all parts himself, including women, children, old and young. He did a terrific job, especially with changing Valjen's voice from bold and strong, when he was young, to desperate and feeble, when he was old. He handled prose, poetry, monologue, and dialogue with equal prowess.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Of course, the gem of the book is Valjen, who goes from criminal to Christ figure, and doesn't seem to notice the depth of his own transformation, even at the very end. He is grace personified, putting all others before himself.

Any additional comments?

Finally, one of the greatest treasures of this unabridged version of the story is the narrative regarding the old priest who first showed grace to Jen Valjen. His story could be a movie of its own.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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This narrator is incredible!

Would you consider the audio edition of Les Misérables: Translated by Julie Rose to be better than the print version?

I tried to read Les Mis three times before but kept getting stuck on "french" words that would make my reading choppy and then I gave up. I used a credit to purchase this unabridged version and was blown away. It did take me a month to finish this book because it is sooo long, but now I can finally say I have finished it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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So Much More than the Operetta

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.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Fatally Flawed

There's probably a great book buried somewhere here, but it's impossible to find. I've never seen such a bloated overwrought mass of verbiage in my life. This novel is in serious need of editing, and I mean brutal trimming.

I cannot understand the reasoning behind the endless meanderings that take place in the story. For example, at one point the two protagonists are forced to take refuge in a convent. Fair enough. At this point the author goes into an extended discourse on the history of the convent, where it originated, it's ties to other religious orders, it's leaders, its rites, practices, and so many extraneous details so as to numb your senses and make your eyes glaze over. And it's all completely irrelevant to the story. COMPLETELY! And it's not a brief sidebar, it goes on for about an hour (at least it seemed that long to me).

The author does this over and over, taking pains to explain details that have absolutely no bearing on the story. If any of these details were in some way entertaining then I guess you could justify it... but they simply aren't that interesting. They are monumentally boring.

I did manage to finish the book, but it was a chore rather than a pleasure. I was just too stubborn to admit it was a waste of money (and time invested).

Do yourself a favor and avoid this, or perhaps try an abridged version. I tend to avoid abridged versions, but this book may be the exception. It needs to be trimmed by at least one third, and maybe one half.

It is a shame, because you can see that he is a great author, some of the passages are simply brilliant. This truly could have been a great novel. It just isn't.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful