Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Hugo, Victor "Les Misérables"

Hugo, Victor "Les Misérables" (French: Les Misérables) - 1862

What a story. "Les Misérables" - those who are miserable. And miserable they are indeed. Someone steals a bread because children are hungry and has to pay for it for the rest of his life! Someone else doesn't do anything wrong, at least not at today's standards and is punished, as well. Only because she is poor.

And that is the crime of all those miserable characters. They are poor. Their destiny in life is written down even before they are born and there is nothing they can do.

Or can they? In times like this, it is no wonder that people crave a revolution and that they will do anything to get out of their hell on earth. Even kill.

I have no idea why I never read this before, I just have to say that I loved everything about it. The plot was interesting, you always want to know what is going to happen next, the characters well described, every single one was so well written, they could have jumped off the page. I was so happy this was such a long book (more than a thousand pages, what a story!) because I didn't have to say good-bye so soon. And that way it stretches over the lives of several protagonists.

This is a book you would like to start reading again the minute you put it down. A true classic.

From the back cover:

"Introducing one of the most famous characters in literature, Jean Valjean - the  noble peasant imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread. In Les Misérables Victor Hugo takes readers deep into the Parisian underworld, immerses them in a battle between good and evil, and carries them onto the barricades during the uprising of 1832.

Within his dramatic story are themes that capture the intellect and the emotions: crime and punishment, the relentless persecution of Valjean by Inspector Javert, the desperation of the prostitute Fantine, the amorality of the rogue Thénardier and the universal desire to escape the prisons of our own minds. Les Misérables gave Victor Hugo a canvas upon which he portrayed his criticism of the French political and judicial systems, but the portrait which resulted is larger than life, epic in scope - an extravagant spectacle that dazzles the senses even as it touches the heart."


  1. Another example of having to read a book look before we could understand and enjoy it. I had to read it in English class when I was 14 and I was a very young 14. I didn't enjoy it at all though I got an A on the paper I had to do on it. My daughter, who took French for years, got to read it in College and loved it.
    Maybe I'll reread it some day.

    1. Sometimes that is the case. I think we need to be careful when to introduce certain literature into the life of kids, and I doubt there will ever be the right "year" for any of the books, it is such an individual choice. My son read "Lord of the Rings" when he was eleven and he loved it, I will never like it, no matter how old I'll be for the book.

      Anyway, another reason we sometimes don't enjoy great literature is the translation. Luckily, there are modern ones availalbe now so, if you ever try again, look for a very good translation. It's a shame not enjoying good writing because of the "middle man".

      I hope you will enjoy "Les Mis" this time around, I know I have.

      Have a good weekend,

  2. I liked the first Lord of the Rings books, absolutely hated the second so I didn't read the third.

    1. I read "The Hobbit" a lot of years ago, I read several other fantasy stories, I didn't like any of them, they are just not for me. My sons, however, both love them. And so does my husband.

      Take care,