Classic Fail: Les Misérables

Posted 15 September, 2013 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in Reviews

Classic Fail: Les MisérablesLes Misérables by Victor Hugo
Published by Signet Classic Genres: Classics, Fiction
Pages: 1463

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange honest review consideration. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

It has been said that Victor Hugo has a street named after him in virtually every town in France. A major reason for the singular celebrity of this most popular and versatile of the great French writers is "Les Misérables "(1862). In this story of the trials of the peasant Jean Valjean--a man unjustly imprisoned, baffled by destiny, and hounded by his nemesis, the magnificently realized, ambiguously malevolent police detective Javert--Hugo achieves the sort of rare imaginative resonance that allows a work of art to transcend its genre. "Les Miserables "is at once a tense thriller that contains one of the most compelling chase scenes in all literature, an epic portrayal of the nineteenth-century French citizenry, and a vital drama--highly particularized and poetic in its rendition but universal in its implications--of the redemption of one human being.

Les Misérables may be the hardest book I’ve ever read. 12% of this book is equivalent to a short novel and very – very – little has happened. I continued to march on.

When I was 1/3 of the way through the book I came to the part where Jean val Jean rescues Cosette from the Thenardier’s and the heartbreaking way in which they treat her. I think that the reaction would have been different had I read this before becoming a mother. It was simply painful.

I pushed my way through this beast and now it’s done. Another book checked off the bucket list. I hated most of this book. The only interesting characters were Jean val Jean and Eponine. 

It goes on and on and on. Hugo forever pontificates on undoubtedly important and interesting subjects — but he goes on so long and gets so abstract that it renders his points moot.

Tedious and awful. I’d recommend the film adaptation with Liam Neeson in it, though they totally remove the character of Eponine- which is lame, but other than that it’s quite good. The musical version with Hugh Jackman in it is fantastic as well – except you have to listen to Russell Crowe ‘sing’. 

#877: 1001 Books to Read Before You Die (2010 list)

April @ The Steadfast Reader


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