Author: Victor Hugo
Summary: Many of the characters are well known: Valjean, the criminal trying to escape his reputation; Javert, the police agent trailing him; the unfortunate Fantine and her daughter, Cosette; the rascally Thenardier; and above all the the splendid street urchin, Gavroche. Among the unforgettable descriptions are those of the Paris sewers, the battle of Watterloo and the fighting at the barricades during the July Revolution.
There are few more complete, or more vivid pictures of France at the beginning of the nineteenth cenury. It is at once a thrilling narrative and a social document embracing a wider field then any other novel of its time.
My Rating: 10/10
What I liked/disliked about the book:
I loved this book. Hugo has a beautiful ability to tell a story, and elegant writing style along with it as he explores the lives of the people of France. Hugo does a great job at bring the readers into the lives of the poor and their struggles in Paris, few authors are able to stand up to the level and tell such a sad, yet beautiful story. One of the reasons the story is so enjoyable and is able to create such a vivid perspective of Paris is the tales of the peoples of Paris and its History. Hugo did an incredible job of dropping you right into the different historical events of Paris, and bring the emotions that came with them.
From the front lines of Waterloo and the battle that took place there, as well as the July Revolution, both stories bring you into these tales, with vivid imagery told through the characters experiences and emotions as the took part in these battles.
The book also gives you a glimpse of life of the poor peoples of Paris, their struggles and unhappy times that pursued. But most importantly are the main characters listed in the summary. Valjean has become an all time favourite character of mine. He has an amazing story of his life and sacrifices, he is a criminal, but you can't help but to fall in love with him and cheer him on. I found my self at the edge of my seat when Javert was pursuing him, hoping he'd get away. I also really enjoyed Gavroche, he was a splendid character, and you really felt sad for him in the end. You felt sad for all the characters and their ends, whether it was in death or not. Their stories reach you at another level, more so then most books you'll read. The characters are almost believable, as if they existed and Hugo immortalized them in pages. I have to tell you, this book is depressing. (Hence the name, Les Miserables) because everyone in the book is unhappy and depressed, whether it's fighting the “demons” (social injustice, no money, political injustice etc) outside in the word or their own inner demons, the book is a downer. It's not a bad thing; it's what makes the book so beautiful. It is the sad lives of the characters and rest of Paris, which you're able to look in on. This book will be one of the most beautiful stories you'll ever read, and it's one that will make you think on the social constructs, of the world, both past and present. Truly a fantastic read!
Would I recommend it to read: Yes. Yes. Yes. And you have the read, the UNABRIDGED version. (Although there is one that has more pages thn this, 1484, I don't know if it's a mannaer of book size, font size trade veruse mass market paper back, or if there is infact an even longer versioin then this one) you need to read the unabridged version. Abridged isn't allowed, it will not bring you the same level or picture of Paris, and it will leave out the important events, like Waterloo. Don't be afraid of it's length, think of it as a challange.
What to read next: Hmm. Huncheback of Notre Dame comes to mind. Or Count of Monte Cristo as Valjean often remindded me of him.