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Publisher's Summary

Les Misérables is set in Paris after the French Revolution. In the sewers and backstreets, we encounter "the wolf-like tread of crime", and assassination for a few sous is all in a day's work. We weep with the unlucky and heart-broken Fantine, and we exult with the heroic revolutionaries of the barricades; but above all we thrill to the steadfast courage and nobility of soul of ex-convict Jean Valjean, always in danger from the relentless pursuit of the diabolical Inspector Javert.

Translated by Isabel F. Hapgood

Public Domain (P)2015 Naxos AudioBooks

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    201
  • 4 Stars
    45
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    12
  • 2 Stars
    1
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    2

Performance

  • 5 out of 5 stars
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    200
  • 4 Stars
    36
  • 3 Stars
    7
  • 2 Stars
    2
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Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    195
  • 4 Stars
    42
  • 3 Stars
    9
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    1
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Use earphones that are light on bass

Edited on 8/29/2018. I’m leaving what I said originally unchanged, but note that I raised the overall rating to 4 stars. The recording does seem to be bass-heavy, which gives the sound a muffled quality, if you’re using standard-issue earbuds. This is unusual for Naxos, whose recordings are usually crystal clear. But given the right headphones, Homewood’s narration takes off: he maintains a formal style and yet remains passionate throughout. All the characters have distinct voices, filled with emotion, and the language of the translation, though it is an old one, soars at times to heights of eloquence. It’s a deeply moving reading.

ORIGINAL REVIEW: I couldn't figure out how to rate this one. It's a little odd giving the story and performance five stars and then giving the overall recording only three. I'll try to explain my thinking.

This title could be a slam-dunk five stars all around. Bill Homewood is a brilliant narrator and captures Hugo's spirit as well as anyone [EDIT: actually, better than anyone I’ve ever heard]. But the sound quality on the recording is poor: the bass is way too high, and his voice is muffled. That being said, earphones vary a lot, and it's possible to get earphones that flatten out the sound and improve the experience. But I listen to almost all books with the same standard-issue earphones because they're the only ones that stay in my ears; and almost all books are fine, especially with Audible's enhanced quality format. But not this one.

So my three stars is kind of a warning. If you have the right earphones - ones that play up the treble, are better suited to voice, or somehow can flatten the bass - you could be in for a major treat. But if you use the earphones / ear buds / ear pods that came with your generic MP3 player or phone, this one may be hard to listen to.

31 of 32 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Terrible Audio quality

Any additional comments?

This is one of the all-time great stories and the reader does an amazing job sharing the story. Unfortunately the quality of the recording is terrible. I actually am trying to find a way to get refunded because the quality is so poor compared to all of the other books I have purchased and I cannot listen to it in most of the circumstances that I normally listen to my audio books.

20 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • T Cyr
  • Missoula, MT United States
  • 02-01-16

An Extraordinary Journey

I began listening to this audio book in the heat of a summer's day, in the middle of summer, and ended it today as a great snow falls, blanketing everything in white on a mid winter's afternoon in February, as the light fades from the sky. I feel profoundly blessed to have heard this story in it's entirety. Possibly one of the longest audio experiences I have ever had. It does have it's digressions at times, that feel like it it taking you out of the experience, but always seems to rebound to the grace and beauty of the story. The reader was extraordinary addling such life to the characters and events, and gives it such a French color. Granted I gave up on it several times and listened to other audio books in between, but something always drew me back. If you stick with it, it will take on you on one of the most remarkable journey's of a life time.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • N.
  • 11-09-17

Sound quality needs improvement.

Important classic, timeless beauty and masterful narration. Sound quality needs improvement; otherwise I would have given a five star rating.




3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Anazing!

The narrator for this book has a fascinating range and magically creates many clear voices. It could not be done better.

This was my first read of Les Miserables. The unabridged sometimes went deeper into history and side tales than I expected but always came back to add depth to the story. If you don't have the patience for this the abridged may be a better option.

Loved this book. Often could not put it down.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Breathtaking, Heart-wrenching, Sublime

I cannot overstate how much I love this book nor can I think of another book that has so thoroughly captivated me in all it's depth, peopled with characters I will never forget.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Magnificent !

Victor Hugo, a master story teller, gives us his singular insight, timeless revelation of the struggle of life on Earth. Joy and tears. The understanding of our heart's journey. The victory of truth and love for mankind and the "Good God".

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

One of the best books I've ever read (or listened to)

I've learned a lot from this story. I know you will too. Read it! It's long, but it's worth it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Classics are accessible!

Would you listen to Les Misérables again? Why?

Yes. Why? I'm not sure I've fully understood it the first time.
I tried reading it at first and found the language tedious due to so many foreign names, places, etc.

What other book might you compare Les Misérables to and why?

I've never read a book I would compare it to. This is my first dive into "the classics".

Have you listened to any of Bill Homewood’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No. But Bill does a fine job!

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

No, but I read it a lot in the bathroom so in that sense, I guess I was moved.

Any additional comments?

Seriously. No really, I'm enjoying this book and listening experience and will keep listening.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Gorgeous timeless masterpiece

A beautiful story, with excellent narration, and many tears shed while listening to Hugo's classic.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Milton
  • 09-03-17

Superb

Beautifully written epic story. Brilliant, stunning, thought provoking and sad. Wonderful characters. Historically illuminating and intellectually challenging. What more could you want? Fantastically read.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Sally P
  • 09-10-15

Wonderful though sound quality poor

There are some very slow chapters of pontification in Hugo's unabridged novel and this is the first time I have wondered whether abridged might have been shoos idea. However, I might have missed hearing some fascinating background about Paris, the Republic, and the labyrinthine Parisian sewers. A powerful story, the more so because the recording is so long. Great and skilful reading.

The files appear to lose quality by being over compressed - no problem through headphones but not great through a car stereo.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-12-18

Glad I finished it

Is there anything you would change about this book?

the volume of the output, it was very quiet

If you’ve listened to books by Victor Hugo before, how does this one compare?

not listened to anything else

What three words best describe Bill Homewood’s performance?

diverse, steady, adaptable

Was Les Misérables worth the listening time?

I think so, although it did take me 6 months on and off to listen to it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • DK
  • 01-30-16

Captivating story

I have enjoyed every bit of this book. I found Bill Homewood excellent in narrating the story.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Zut Marron
  • 10-19-17

Patience is needed here

The book is brilliantly read, the story is magnificent, overall it only gets three stars because Hugo is partial to rambling, and generally very tedious, digressions. Of course the result is a greater immersion in the story, a greater empathy with the characters so that the heart-rending final scene is that much more poignant. On balance though I think I would recommend an edited version.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • doctor xray
  • 09-11-18

A surprisingly profound book that has changed me

I started late miserably not knowing what to expect. I was normally a science fiction/fantasy reader but had also recently got into Lee Childs and Dan Brown adding thriller to my repertoire.

I decided to tackle Les Miserables because my children were performing in a musical locally and I thought I should read the book to understand the musical further. I was not prepared for the surprise this book has made upon me.

The only audible review comments that I made notice of was one comment remarking upon how Victor Hugo goes off the storyline over several chapters explaining various background stories or other information. I did encounter this and at first wondered whether it was relevant. In fact, the early part of this book was about the Bishop and this lasted for several hours before the main characters appeared.

However this book has changed me emotionally more than I could’ve predicted. It’s a basic story about a man suffering but rising above his suffering in honour and truth. One could say the same about Luke Skywalker in Star Wars. However, with the musical and the music in my head, along with the amazing amazing narration makes this book a MUST READ and I hope that those who read it after me enjoy it as much as I did.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 08-28-18

An incredible & immense story

This is one of the best books I’ve ever got through. I would recommend to anyone. It may seem arduous at times but it’s worth it.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Simona
  • 06-17-18

great listen which I thoroughly enjoyed

the author goes on a bit in places which made it hard to keep focus but otherwise loved it!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Clara Paganin
  • 11-16-17

Fantastic

The Narrator was fantastic his French pronunciation was amazing. He read with clarity , each character was well portrayed.
A long book, with lots of historical facts.
Never boring. Enjoyed every minute

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Rodney Hrvatin
  • 03-09-17

An epic story but not quite so epic performance

What made the experience of listening to Les Misérables the most enjoyable?

This was an entertaining performance that showed great depth. It is an epic novel but listening to it in small chunks does help keep the interest up through the longeurs of the story.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Valjean and Javert are particularly well presented.

What about Bill Homewood’s performance did you like?

His French is impeccable but his raspy singing voice grates on the nerves after a while. It is also very obvious where he started every take as it always starts softly and then gets louder.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

"You've seen the musical and seen the film, now hear the book!"

Any additional comments?

If you make it through this audiobook you should feel mighty chuffed. 67 hours is a very long time but you'll really feel like the experience has been worth it. Do give this one a go if you have a spare credit.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Antony Stein
  • 08-19-18

Absolutely beautiful, heart-rending

Magnificent narration, of a beautiful story. It's us hard to describe just what a wonderful experience, listening to this book was.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Linda
  • 06-17-18

truly a classic

I've always loved the musical and so wanted to listen to the novel which inspired it - knowing that, of course, there would be marked differences. I love this story of hope and redemption, mercy and grace. I am glad I took the (considerable) time to listen to it. Having said that, if I desire to read it again I will find an abridged version. The story really is very good but the chapters devoted to French politics and the people involved in the Revolution I found exceedingly boring. Perhaps, in part, that is because I don't speak French and all those names and quotes were just too much for me; perhaps it is because the wittiness is lost in translation. Or maybe it is just boring - I eventually resorted to fast forwarding those chapters for the sake of my patience and sanity.
I thought that the narrator was excellent. I'm glad that he can also sing in tune.
On the whole, I do recommend this novel and I think that it is worth persevering with. You will find yourself genuinely caring for the main characters.