Victor-Marie Hugo is one of the most versatile persons to have walked on earth. He was a poet, playwright, novelist, essayist, visual artist, statesman, human rights campaigner, and one of the most influential exponents of the Romantic movement in France. He has written a number of classics including The Hunchback of Notre-Dame.
Les Misérables: The Classic Story of the Triumph of Grace and Redemption, Adapted for Today’s Reader by Victor Hugo , and edited by James Reimann is a retelling of one of his most famous works first published in 1862 which has virtually immortalized him. As amply made clear in the title, it has been adapted for today’s reader.
In the process of writing one of the greatest novels of all time, Victor Hugo has created one of the most famous characters in literature, Jean Valjean. The writer par excellence crafted an incredible story taking the reader right into the Parisian underworld during the uprising of 1832 with an awe-inspiring pragmatism that is unrivaled in contemporary prose. Victor Hugo vividly painted a stunning battle between good and evil, portraying the sentiment and restlessness of the poor and disenfranchised of the new republic of France. In it he focuses his attention on the plight of the escaped offender Jean Valjean who was imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread, and the determinations of the persistent policeman out to recapture him.
It is a gripping and engaging story that brings to full circle the truism “desperate times call for desperate measures.” It is a sharp and stark portrayal of the pathetic and wretched condition of the common man in France during the period. When the state is unable to meet even the basic needs of its citizens, hunger and poverty can drive even a noble and honorable peasant like Jean Valjean to resort to extreme measures, however unlawful it may be. Beautiful and sad, astounding yet poignant, amazing and simple, this gem of a novel has left a deep and profound impression on me since I first read it over two decades ago. Re-reading it now is like a journey back in time. It has demonstrated the power of literature in a way like no other book does. It is also a testimony to the fact that characters like Jean Valjean, Bishop Myriel and Enjolras have the power to encourage generations of readers to acts of selflessness and kindheartedness.
Enjoy this retelling of Victor Hugo’s epic 1862 in just one-fifth of the original wording!