Customer Reviews for

Les Miserables

Average Rating 4.5
( 171 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

12 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

Amazing!!

As if anyone needed an excuse to read Les Miserables--one of the most fantastic pieces of literature of all time--we now have a wonderfully rendered translation by Julie Rose. Coupled with a wildly intelligent introduction by Adam Gopnik, this is the most complete and ...
As if anyone needed an excuse to read Les Miserables--one of the most fantastic pieces of literature of all time--we now have a wonderfully rendered translation by Julie Rose. Coupled with a wildly intelligent introduction by Adam Gopnik, this is the most complete and informative edition of Hugo's masterpiece to date. With ludicrously complete endnotes, one can read the novel and achieve near total comprehension of the era about which Hugo was writing. We understand through this winning translation and notes why Napoleon was good and evil, why he was such a polarizing figure, why the French Revolution was so important to European and world history. Understanding the world from which Hugo's charaters come helps us relate and identify with them even more. We understand why Enjolras is a zealot, why Javert is dedicated beyond reason to the law, why Fantine felt she had run out of options, to name a very few. Les Miserables, at its core, is a meditation on the human spirit in its idealized form: what Man can achieve through good deeds, dedication, and love of his fellow men. Read and be inspired.

posted by Anonymous on August 16, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Not fair

Abridged

posted by Anonymous on November 21, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2002

    Context of Les Miserables

    I believe Les Miserables deserves four stars. It encompasses the primary historical trends of the nineteenth century. Victor Hugo, the author of Les Miserables, utilizes some of his personal experiences to create the exciting adventures of Jean Valjean, the protagonist of the novel, provides insight on poignant issues such as universal suffrage, prison reform, free education, and social equality. I recommend reading this novel. Les Miserables not only broadens the mind toward social issues, but the techniques used to form the novel enhanced the theme. The context of this novel was enjoyable because Hugo appropriately used different techniques to intensify the effect of the novel, one of which is symbolism. Three of the main characters symbolize different dilemmas present during the French Revolution, the period in which Les Miserables was written. Jean Valjean symbolizes the degradation of man in the proletariat; once a man has committed a crime, he will always be a convict. Cosette symbolizes atrophy of the child by darkness; women who birth children out of wedlock are belittled. Fantine symbolizes the subjection of women through hunger; women would suffice anything to survive in society. Through Jean Valjean, Hugo implemented satire to provide Les Miserables with moral redemption. In Valjean¿s attempt to redeem his past, he progresses from convict to saint. This ironical situation salvages one¿s view of mankind, that salvation can be acquired and produce a tremendous impact. The satire and moral redemption, in this novel, added immensely to the effect of the theme. It provides a sense of comfort; people make mistakes, but through those mistakes knowledge is gained for them to succeed. Another interesting technique Hugo used consists of a microcosm. He created a world within a world. Valjean possessed his own world that revolved around him and Cosette. Through this microcosm the reader gains a feeling of attachment to Cosette and Valjean. When something happens to either of them it seems as though it has befallen upon a close friend of the reader. Although this novel contains unsurpassable context, it also contains a few minor flaws. The story line for Les Miserables seems to drag out, which makes the book difficult to read. It seems as though the novel may continue forever. If the novel had not tarried along, it may have been easier to comprehend. Unfortunately, I became bored with the novel at times and had to cease reading for a while. Hugo¿s eccentric use of symbolism, satire, a microcosm, and moral redemption, provide a source of exquisite reading material. Hugo used many other techniques to spawn Les Miserables, such as flashbacks, similes and metaphors, irony, monologue, and self-communion. Each technique adds to the exquisiteness of the final product. This novel is distinguished worldwide for its portrayal of France during the French Revolution. Ultimately, Les Miserables subsists of extraordinary context. I highly recommend reading it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2014

    Shawn

    Hey guys

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2014

    Cadre

    She hums

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2014

    Tris

    She walked in wearing a dark blue flowy dress with a smalk leg, opening her mascarade mask was darker blue with small gems on the sides her dirty blond hair was down to her waist as she walked in

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2014

    Jane

    Jane quietly walked in. Her dress was pure white, with thin straps over her shoulders. There was a beaded belt, and she had white ballet flats on.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2014

    Cadre

    She follows walking in behind Andy, dressed in an old fashioned nurse outfit (from like the 1800's or 1900's). Her hair pulled back into a bun directly on top of her head, altough it is hidden behind a nurse hat (again it correlates with the outfit and the time period). Her shoes are short pumps that are white...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2013

    Les Misérables by Victor Hugo is an amazing work of art that dep

    Les Misérables by Victor Hugo is an amazing work of art that depicts the struggles of French people of both gender and of various economic and social classes in nineteenth century France.  I enjoyed reading this book because I think this is one of the greatest stories of redemption ever.  There are points in the book when the book turns into a tangent that is unrelated to the storyline of the book, such as when Victor Hugo talks about things like Napoleon’s strategy at Waterloo or the restoration of Paris during the years 1831 to 1832.  Also, sometimes Victor Hugo’s writing style becomes hard to follow because he makes references to things that were common during his time that we do not have today and that made me dig deeper into trying to understand the nuances of the story and the time it was representing.
    Although I do not think this is the best book for a high school student to choose because of it’s enormous length or the fact that sometimes the story gets hard to follow; if someone takes the challenge of reading this marvelous book, it is a guarantee that this book will be an enjoyable read for him or her.  Also, I think this book really makes the reader think about how a man who started as a thief affected so many lives in a positive way and I think that it makes the reader think about what they can do for others too.  This book also shows how strong the power of redemption, love, and compassion can be.  
    In conclusion, this book is a great story and I recommend reading this book if you are in for a challenge or if you just want to read an amazing book.  I don’t think that even Victor Hugo ever thought that his book would be so internationally acclaimed or be shown in so many different forms such as a movie or play.  This story has touched many readers all over the world in many different forms since it has been written and I think it will continue to do so for many years to come.  

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2012

    If you knew how to

    Speak French than we mersi

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 9, 2011

    wow

    amazing i loved the wonderful descriptions and dialouge. this is coming from an 11 year old

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  • Posted November 2, 2010

    The Most Inspiring Novel Ever:

    I read Les Miserables because my brother was in the musical Les Miserables playing Jean Val Jean. Let me tell you thing: if you are expecting the book to be like the play, then you'll be surprised. Sure, the play has the same characters and main events, but the book goes into so much more detail. For example, in the play, Marius just sort of pops up as an entirely new character, whereas in the book, it explains his background, his youth, his father and grandfather, etc. The beginning with Jean Val Jean meeting the Bishop goes into much more detail as well. Don't get me wrong, though. The book Les Miserables is very intellectually stimulating, although if you don't have a good vocabulary or a very large dictionary nearby, you might not want to read it. There are some parts that do such a good job describing what is going on that you feel as if you are watching a video depicting exactly how everything was. The language and word choice is somewhat difficult to understand, and if you don't have a reading level over 11th grade, you may want to wait a bit to read it, but no matter what you're reading level is, there are many great things about Les Miserables that can be appreciated. The end is so touching that I actually cried (Gasp!) and was extremely moved, and the way Jean Val Jean defies the law again and again is truly awe-inspiring, as well. My favorite character by far is the Bishop, because Jean Val Jean steals his silver, and out of the goodness of his soul, he not only doesn't tell the police to go after him, but when the police do catch him and take him to the Bishop's house, the Bishop covers for him and gives him even more silver. Another note-worthy item from Les Miserables is how much Jean Val Jean changes. At the beginning, he is a cruel-hearted old son of a gun, but when the he meets the Bishop, the effect is immediately noticeable. Jean Val Jean unintentionally cheats a small boy of his money, and when Jean Val Jean notices his crime, he not only feels terrible about it, but also seeks to rectify his mistake, something that he most certainly would not have done before meeting the Bishop. There is one more character who had a profound impact on Jean Val Jean's life, and that is Cosette. Jean Val Jean takes care of Cosette after her mother dies, and she thinks of him as a father (seeming as how he is the only parental figure she really ever knew). One thing that I got out of this is that even the most hardened criminals can be repentant. Even though the law persisted after him, Jean Val Jean kept clear of capture and, in the process, learned a lot about him and about other people through such people as the Bishop, Cosette, and Marius. The author definitely did a good job of portraying his beliefs through fictional writing, and it is indubitably one of the most touching, inspiring, and entertaining novels in the history of modern day literature. Les Miserables is one novel that everyone should read-the sooner the better.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2006

    Lots to learn from this story

    This book was an alright book. I thought it would be alot more exciting and action packed but it was a while until that came out in the story. There were some gripping parts but there was lots of other not so exciting material in between.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2001

    The dramatic story centered on the life of a runaway convict and his adopted child struggling to free themselves from their past.

    Victor Hugo authors a controversial and exciting novel based on the journeys of the escaped convict, Jean Valjean. While freeing himself from imprisonment, Valjean is given a second chance at life by a forgiving bishop. Valjean creates a new life for himself as the mayor of a small town in France. During his reign, he befriends a prostitute by the name of Fantine, who is on the brink of death and despartely wants to see her child, Cosette. Valjean's identity is revealed to the town when an innocent man is accused of being Valjean. Valjean is torn between maintaining his reputation and dooming an innocent man. With his true identity exposed, Valjean must run away to save himself and Cosette. They retreat to a convent where Cosette is raised. As Cosette matures she is intrigued by the outside world and persuades Valjean to move into the city. While in her new environment Cosette falls in love with a revolution leader named Marius. With the threat of abandonment, Valjean forbids this relationship from developing. Along with this conflict a revolution is brewing, causing character and plot shifts. As the story is developed each character bestows their own twist on the plot. Each event reveals the struggles and the irony of humanity.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2000

    Epic in plot, but a bit tedious in portrayals of events for our age

    'Les Miserables' by v. Hugo is in many ways similar to 'War and Peace' by L. Tolstoy: everyone want to read it, but few (if any) are capable of enjoying it more than a comtemporary bestseller (for Les Miserables was a bestseller of its own time). To call 'Les Miserables' a 'must-read for all highschool students', as it was quoted in another person's review, is a bit exaggerating for my taste. So many people use watchwords such as 'ever', 'best', 'greatest', 'most' and etc, in describing their after-thoughts on the classics they have read. I believe most people in fact lack extensive contemplations in writing those reviews, because classics are not the easiest books to read, understand and appreciate. When was the last time we heard Joyce's 'Fennigen's Wake' or Beckett's 'Waiting for Godo' being 'the best i've ever read'? Perhaps we should toss those into the already demanding lists of highschool 'must-reads'? Books such as 'Les Miserables' demand a good, often times very thorough, education in history, literature and philosophy. Without a more-than-average understanding of the historical events portrayed in the book, the text can become arduous at times, or even impossible. I recommand people who are interested in reading 'Les Miserables' to first find a qualified abridged version; read it, and if they find it compelling enough to try the unabridge version, that is when Hugo's most magnificent masterpiece can be fully appreciated.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2014

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    Posted October 10, 2009

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    Posted October 25, 2008

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    Posted July 25, 2014

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    Posted April 23, 2010

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    Posted April 10, 2011

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    Posted September 12, 2010

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