Customer Reviews


107 Reviews
5 star:
 (77)
4 star:
 (14)
3 star:
 (8)
2 star:
 (6)
1 star:
 (2)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


75 of 75 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you thought Classics were 'boring', think again
I decided to read 'Les Miserables' more out of a challenge to myself than anything else. I honestly thought it was going to be one of those 'boiled cabbage' books that taste pretty dull but are very good for you. I could not be more wrong. From the first chapter, I was surprised by Hugo's sense of humour and sharpness. His take on the clergy and their not-so-humble...
Published on 6 Feb 2000 by Paola Rizzato

versus
99 of 108 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Warning!
This particular book is the ABRIDGED edition! This is fine if you are happy to read the 'lite' version as seen in the musical show. If you want to read the more complex and fascinating book that Hugo actually wrote make sure you are getting the whole thing!
Published on 12 July 2003 by K. Logan


‹ Previous | 1 211 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

75 of 75 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you thought Classics were 'boring', think again, 6 Feb 2000
I decided to read 'Les Miserables' more out of a challenge to myself than anything else. I honestly thought it was going to be one of those 'boiled cabbage' books that taste pretty dull but are very good for you. I could not be more wrong. From the first chapter, I was surprised by Hugo's sense of humour and sharpness. His take on the clergy and their not-so-humble lifestyle set the tone of the book and acted as a promise that it wasn't going to be a 'tour de force' of morals and religion.
And then it just got better, and better, and better. The plot had more twists and turns than an Agatha Christie's novel, the characters far more rounded than the two-dimensional figurines one encounters in Dickens' writing. These characters are memorable. Jean Valejan, Cosette, Marius, the evil Javert: I dare you readers to find a book in which the characters become so alive, so vivid, so intense and so human. By the end of the book (almost 1000 pages of!)you just don't want to let them go. I frantically read and read for days until, almost at the end, I slowed down and tried to make it last a little bit longer, and yes, when the last page was turned, I felt totally and utterly BEREFT. Les Miserables is a story that will stay with me forever. If classics ever put you off, do yourself a favour, and read this wonderful novel.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Citizens, our nineteenth century is great, but the twentieth century will be happy', 19 Aug 2008
By 
Trevor Coote "Trevor Coote" (Tahiti, French Polynesia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Not the greatest prediction in history perhaps, but Victor Hugo's monumental Romantic epic still remains one of the best known and most popular works of the nineteenth century. A vast panorama of Parisian life during the first half of that century, Les Miserables seems to contain the author's entire world view and knowledge base, everything but the kitchen sink. Yes, when viewed through twenty-first century eyes it suffers from all the peculiarities associated with novels of that era: twists and turns born out of wildly improbable coincidences, a tendency to sentimentality and melodrama, familiar caricatures (misers, prostitutes, street urchins), odd attachments to unrelated children, and loose ends neatly tied up. But, like War and Peace it is a great sweep of life, like Moby Dick it is juxtaposed with digressions and immensely detailed descriptions (Waterloo, the Paris sewers), like Dickens's works the characters live and breathe even though they are flat and behave stereotypically. In sum, it is a magnificent slice of social history, teeming with life and detail, sometimes funny, often moving, always compassionate.
The story is basically simple. It revolves around peasant Jean Valjean who is sentenced to five years in prison for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his starving family and then to 19 years in the galleys for an escape attempt. He becomes a recidivist criminal on release until he sees the error of his ways after being befriended by a saintly priest. Then, making a stupid mistake on the spur of the moment, he is discovered and compelled to return to prison. However, escaping again, he spends the rest of his life seeking redemption, firstly by becoming a wealthy and respectable citizen and then by rescuing a young girl from abuse. Les Miserables is a morality tale which seeks to demonstrate the virtual impossibility of escape from poverty and injustice at a time and in a system where the less fortunate are excluded. Among a great canvas of characters many are memorable: Valjean himself, the obsessive policeman Javert, the ill-fated Fantine, the malevolent Thenardier couple, and the irrepressible urchin Gavroche. The numerous stage and film interpretations of Hugo's masterpiece are a testimony to its enduring popularity and its place in the pantheon of great European literature.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You feel proud when you finish it!, 23 Nov 2009
By 
L. Freeman "Binto" (Worcestershire, UK) - See all my reviews
Phew! Well, that is a book that you feel proud of for having completed. It is the size of a breeze block and it's printed on tissue paper in size 4 font- very daunting to approach!

The story is very intricate and has many small `insignificant' details which, you realise when trying to write a synopsis, all have great impact upon it. It is set in 19th Century France, and follows ex-convict Jean Valjean and his struggle through life, being constantly pursued. He raises a `daughter' and we also follow her story, of young love. If you have seen the musical, you will recognize the story from the adaptation easily, but be amazed at the extra intricacies!

Although this is, as I have said, a very daunting book to approach, there is actually nothing difficult about it. It is written plainly, and easy enough to understand. But there is no doubt it takes concentration. It's a book you have to really READ, if you understand my meaning. There are pages and pages of back history to every character, no matter how small. Even alot of the buildings mentioned have pages, sometimes chapters of back history!

This really is an excellent book with an excellent story. I would recommend it most highly, but with the advice that you would probably have to see it as a long term project! There is a bit of everything, action, adventure, love, suspense, war, sadness, happiness, and hope. Suitable for all, with a little perseverance!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece, 21 Sep 1999
By A Customer
Staggering portrayel of life in early-mid eighteen century France. Hugo's classic follows the sometimes tragic life of Jean Valjean, from the desparation of being sentenced to hard labour for stealing a loaf of bread, to the joys of saving a small girl from the wickedness of her guardians. Hugo is an artist, and has painted a marvellously detailed, moody and atmospheric work of art.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


99 of 108 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Warning!, 12 July 2003
By 
K. Logan (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This particular book is the ABRIDGED edition! This is fine if you are happy to read the 'lite' version as seen in the musical show. If you want to read the more complex and fascinating book that Hugo actually wrote make sure you are getting the whole thing!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, except for the digressions, 16 Feb 2008
By 
John Hopper (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
What can I say about this mammoth novel, which has taken me longer to read than any other book of fiction while still reading at least some pages every day?

It is a colossal, moving and colourful work, filled with some of the greatest figures in French literature. It has drama, pathos, love, hate, cruelty, duty, revolutionary excesses and aristocratic narrowmindedness. The features that for me prevent it being a total success are the lengthy digressions, covering Waterloo, argot, monastical conventions and even the history of sewers and the volume of excrement in Paris. These slow the story down and do become tiresome. The tiresome antics of the revolutionaries on the barricades also grated, they seeming to be more interested in the glamour rhetoric and glory of the act of defiance, rather than a genuine drive for social justice. These digressions at one point slowed me down to a point where I was reading barely half a dozen pages a day and I did almost give up on it at one point. But I knew I wanted to find out what happened to Valjean and Cosette and I am glad I did, sad though the ending was. A monumental work.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A timeless masterpiece, 9 Aug 2005
By 
A. J. Smith (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
If a novel is an artistic piece of creativity, requiring the right tones, contrasts, and combination of elements to create the perfect masterpiece, then Hugo's Les Miserables epitomises such a work.
Beginning with a touching portrayal of a lonely and selfless Bishop, the reader is introduced to the central theme of Hugo's timeless classic, grace. Hugo carefully crafts a tale that brings the reader to a realisation that no one is beyond redemption, beyond change, and beyond atonement, yet the state and man have an inability to recognise this.
Many shades of the man himself are found within his work, the frequent references he makes to historical events he himself he has experienced, and his own political views. Through Hugo's writing one can discern that life, truth, and justice are never a two dimensional affair, and adherence to rules, regulation and authority can tear ones life apart, and unduly harm the undeserving. Championing the underdogs, the outcasts, to whom the title refers, Hugo constructs a classic narrative examining the true meanings of social justice, all revolving around the character of Jean Valjean and his selfless sacrifices and devotion to his foster daughter Cosette.
Hugo treats the reader with a sense of respect, assuming the reader is intelligent enough to unearth the subtle clues he leaves, never giving away more information than necessary. His method of story telling keeps the reader uncertain, yet intrigued, towards the course of events, flowing like a like a mountain stream, uncertain like a jigsaw puzzle, and all assembling towards a heart touching conclusion.
As the translator notes in the introduction, the most important part of translation is not to capture the literal meaning, rather the authors intent. His intent in descriptive powers has been rendered immaculately in this fine translation, but his intent towards the reader can be no more aptly described than the change of outlook one gains from reading this, making it a pleasure for the mind and soul. Hugo once remarked, "as long as there is misery, injustice and destitution there will be a need for my book." Indeed Hugo was correct, and perhaps if more people discovered this treasure the world would be a better place.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Les Miserables (BOOK), 5 Feb 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I got this for my mum, because she brought the cd after seeing the film and basically hasnt stopped playing it. Shehas listened to the cd everyday. Les Miserables has been popularized through numerous adaptations for the stage, television, musical and film.

So to the book. This is a French historical novel by Victor Hugo, first published in 1862, that is considered one of the greatest novels of the nineteenth century. In the English-speaking world, the novel is usually referred to by its original French title, which can be translated from the French as The Miserables, The Wretched, The Miserable Ones, The Poor Ones, The Wretched Poor, or The Victims. Beginning in 1815 and culminating in the 1832 June Rebellion in Paris, the novel follows the lives and interactions of several characters, focusing on the struggles of ex-convict Jean Valjean and his experience of redemption. Examining the nature of law and grace, the novel elaborates upon the history of France, the architecture and urban design of Paris, politics, moral philosophy, justice, religion, and love.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


42 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Les miserables is a great book, but this edition is terrible, 2 Mar 2000
By A Customer
I was dissapointed to discover that this is abridged version. Maybe good for the people who get discouraged when seeing about 1000 pages book, but Les Miserables is well worth it to read in in unabridged version. Didn't want to give less than five stars to Hugo's masterpiece, but reader's should be aware that this edition contains about 1/4 of the original book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a beautiful timeless classic, 3 Feb 2004
I bought this book when I was cast as Cosette in the Jonathan Holloway adaptation of this play. It is a huge book and you could be put off by this. Don't be. The beginning can also put off some people, and you could skip it, but I suggest that you read it all as you will discover its relevance eventually. The book is full of rich, illustrious description and the depth of character achieved by the author is stunning. The pitiful decline of Fantine; the bitter solitude of Valjean; the pathos of Eponine and Gavroche; the innocent and blind love between Cosette and Marius; and the hardened, bitter Javert; these brilliantly deep characters intertwine with the harsh, stark backdrop of the July uprising of 1832 to create a story that will lead you through every possible emotion. My one suggestion is that you make sure you are buying the real thing; it should have 1200+ pages. The small characters make this book. Don't let its size intimidate you, but do be prepared for a serious lack of a social life for however long it takes you to read this!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 211 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Les Miserables (Classics)
6.99
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews