Les Misérables is set in Paris after the French Revolution. In the sewers and backstreets, we encounter "the wolf-like tread of crime", and assassination for a few sous is all in a day's work. We weep with the unlucky and heart-broken Fantine, and we exult with the heroic revolutionaries of the barricades; but above all we thrill to the steadfast courage and nobility of soul of ex-convict Jean Valjean, always in danger from the relentless pursuit of the diabolical Inspector Javert.
Translated by Isabel F. Hapgood
Public Domain (P)2015 Naxos AudioBooks
There are some very slow chapters of pontification in Hugo's unabridged novel and this is the first time I have wondered whether abridged might have been shoos idea. However, I might have missed hearing some fascinating background about Paris, the Republic, and the labyrinthine Parisian sewers. A powerful story, the more so because the recording is so long. Great and skilful reading.
The files appear to lose quality by being over compressed - no problem through headphones but not great through a car stereo.
The narrator for this book has a fascinating range and magically creates many clear voices. It could not be done better.
This was my first read of Les Miserables. The unabridged sometimes went deeper into history and side tales than I expected but always came back to add depth to the story. If you don't have the patience for this the abridged may be a better option.
Loved this book. Often could not put it down.
"Terrible Audio quality"
This is one of the all-time great stories and the reader does an amazing job sharing the story. Unfortunately the quality of the recording is terrible. I actually am trying to find a way to get refunded because the quality is so poor compared to all of the other books I have purchased and I cannot listen to it in most of the circumstances that I normally listen to my audio books.
"Could be five starts with re-engineering"
I couldn't figure out how to rate this one. It's a little odd giving the story and performance five stars and then giving the overall recording only three. I'll try to explain my thinking.
This title could be a slam-dunk five stars all around. Bill Homewood is a brilliant narrator and captures Hugo's spirit as well as anyone. But the sound quality on the recording is poor: the bass is way too high, and his voice is muffled. That being said, earphones vary a lot, and it's possible to get earphones that flatten out the sound and improve the experience. But I listen to almost all books with the same standard-issue earphones because they're the only ones that stay in my ears; and almost all books are fine, especially with Audible's enhanced quality format. But not this one.
So my three stars is kind of a warning. If you have the right earphones - ones that play up the treble, are better suited to voice, or somehow can flatten the bass - you could be in for a major treat. But if you use the earphones / ear buds / ear pods that came with your generic MP3 player or phone, this one may be hard to listen to.
Victor Hugo, a master story teller, gives us his singular insight, timeless revelation of the struggle of life on Earth. Joy and tears. The understanding of our heart's journey. The victory of truth and love for mankind and the "Good God".
"An Extraordinary Journey"
I began listening to this audio book in the heat of a summer's day, in the middle of summer, and ended it today as a great snow falls, blanketing everything in white on a mid winter's afternoon in February, as the light fades from the sky. I feel profoundly blessed to have heard this story in it's entirety. Possibly one of the longest audio experiences I have ever had. It does have it's digressions at times, that feel like it it taking you out of the experience, but always seems to rebound to the grace and beauty of the story. The reader was extraordinary addling such life to the characters and events, and gives it such a French color. Granted I gave up on it several times and listened to other audio books in between, but something always drew me back. If you stick with it, it will take on you on one of the most remarkable journey's of a life time.
"I have finished!"
I have seen musical live, loved it!
I have seen the movie, loved it!
I have now listened to the unabridged book, in awe of it!
Have loved listening to Bill Homewood in this and 3 other performances. The only problem I had with this edition is they didn't translate the French songs or the Latin quotes.
love this book. love the musical, it is so sad and so uplifting. Victor Hugo is a master of literature.
"Classics are accessible!"
Yes. Why? I'm not sure I've fully understood it the first time.
I tried reading it at first and found the language tedious due to so many foreign names, places, etc.
I've never read a book I would compare it to. This is my first dive into "the classics".
No. But Bill does a fine job!
No, but I read it a lot in the bathroom so in that sense, I guess I was moved.
Seriously. No really, I'm enjoying this book and listening experience and will keep listening.
"What a saga!"
I put off reading this classic for way too many years! I am now content, as was Jean Valjean when he gazed at Cozet for the last time! We all live as various characters in the Les Miserables...what an epic!
"Shine a light"
If you're like me, strongly averse to musicals and TV dramatisations but with a keen interest in finding out where on earth people get their ideas from, then you need to read this book. It's left me feeling like a guy who just discovered the existence of a place called "Ikea." Possibly even more modern-day-lifestyle-influential than "Day of the Dead" or that ghastly "Scarface" movie. Yes, there are digressions – but they never trouble the lower-Tolstoyean depths of feuilletonistic sophotastery. And the audio mastering is indeed terrible, but it's nothing the iTunes equalizer can't handle.
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