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Publisher's Summary

Putting a century of scholarship on one of the world's most enduring popular novels into accessible, narrative form, this new approach to a classic of world literature is written for a wide general audience. Packed full of information about the book's origins and later career on stage and screen, The Novel of the Century brings to life the extraordinary story of how Victor Hugo managed to write his novel of the downtrodden despite a revolution, a coup d'etat, and political exile; how he pulled off the deal of the century to get it published; and how he set it on course to become the novel that epitomizes the grand sweep of history in the 19th century. This biography of a masterpiece also shows how and why the moral and social messages of Les Miserables are full of meaning for our time.

©2017 David Bellos (P)2017 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"Anyone who loves Hugo, France, and the French language will revel in this delightful book that explains all the intimacies of 19th-century French life." ( Kirkus)

What listeners say about The Novel of the Century

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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The making of a classic!

WARNING: this is a book for true Les Miserables fans!
If you want to know every little thing about Les Miserables and its creator victor Hugo, then this is the book for you.
I really enjoyed this story behind the epic masterpiece. I found it fascinating and very enjoyable. It is full of knowledge and the author clearly did his research. If you are not A diehard fan, this book will be lost on you. My only criticism is that the narrator pauses sometimes and the recording stops for a few seconds. It didn’t bother me that much but it might bother some people. If you want to know what happened behind the scenes during the writing process for Les Miserables and what inspired Victor Hugo to write it in the first place, give this a try.

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Some technical issues

Cut ins, corrections, and re-records are very obvious throughout. Excellent story and well written and researched.

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Fantastic!

A gripping and clever biography of a novel, full of valuable insights into Hugo's mind and French history. A reading writer's dream.

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Whispersync worked well.

I enjoyed every page of this explanation of my favorite French novel. You will too. The author, the times and the limits of technology in the 19th century. They all play a wonderful part of the story. Now I'll go back and read this wonderful book again. With a better appreciation.