Hugo describes early 19th-century France with a sweeping power that gives his novel epic stature. Among the most famous chapters are the account of the battle of Waterloo and Valjean's flight through the Paris sewers.
(P)1996 Blackstone Audiobooks
"When I was 15, I was completely bowled over by Les Miserables. All my life long I have continually been discovering fresh aspects of Hugo's genius." (Andre Maurois)
"Epic journey through life."
This audiobook is very long - but not at all tedious!
The narratrive is fast paced, well read and a pleasure to listen to.
This epic page turner really did have me enthralled and rooting for the antihero of this classic tale.
"What a very pleasant surprise..."
I admit I was sceptical about Frederick Davidson's voice and style. In fact, I only bought this book because it was the only available unabridged version, and I am so glad I did. The book itself, this timeless masterpiece, hardly needs recommendation or introduction. The wonderful surprise, for me, was the delightful, intelligent, vivid and character-faithful narration of Davidson. Thanks Audible!
"A slog but well worth it."
So I finally finished Les Miserables. It took me five months to listen to the whole thing, a 60-hour audio book. There were several points where I nearly gave up, and one where I actually announced on Facebook that I had given up. But I went back to it and I'm ever so glad that I did.
Let me start by saying that this is a fantastic book. There were times when I was slogging through some of the digressions that I wondered just how this could possibly have been considered a classic. But now I know.
At first, I sensed a similarity with Crime & Punishment, which just happens to have been published in the same decade as Les Miserables, as indeed was War & Peace, which I have also read. The part where Jean Valjean, as Monsieur Madeleine, is fighting with his conscience about going to rescue the man who has been arrested as Jean Valjean and then his journey there, fraught with difficulty.
It's been interesting to read some of the reviews on Goodreads after finishing the book. They are almost all five stars and there are a few instances where readers have read the abridged version and then gone back to read the unabridged and enjoyed it ever so much more. As I was listening to it, there were many occasions when I wished I had downloaded the abridged version instead. I mean come on, pages and pages of description about the Paris sewers? The whole Waterloo bit? I honestly struggled through these parts. I wonder if it would have been easier to read than to listen to.
Anyway, I listened to the last 8 hours or so in a couple of days, at first because I just wanted it finished and out of the way, but then because it was just so good that I didn't want to stop. I had guessed how the novel would end, but that didn't spoil the ending at all. It was so well written that I was left with a feeling of elation that has lasted through to the following day as I write this.
Suffice it to say that I am very glad that I persevered with this and got to the end. I actually would quite
"Misleading audio sample"
I didn't like the audio sample but it was the only unabridged version and lots of reviews said they didn't like the audio sample but enjoyed the book. I have to say I agree. It's a wonderful book and wonderfully read. I'm going to miss it when I finish it!
66 hours sounded like a long listen, but this was a book I just looked forward to listening to day after day, never getting bored. A stonking good story, beautifully narrated. I was transfixed and missed it terribly once I'd finished it.
"A true great"
A classic read that is well presented. I was recommended this book 20 years ago. i knew i would never get round to reading it myself. To get the chance of someone read it to you so well while you drive the car is good.
My only criticism of the work (and it is a minor niggle) was that it goes off on rambling tangents that can last for an hour or more. An example is his description of the (entire) battle of Waterloo. this is to add background to one minor character and one scene. That said my knowledge of the battle is now enhanced and I did enjoy this tangent! The descriptive prose lends well to these ramblings and holds the interest.
Ignore what is said in comments about the narrator's reading (in this and other books he narrates), he puts a great effort and all the characters come alive with his take on them. all are distinct and easy to follow. I'm going on to F. Davidson's version of War and Peace next.
A marvellous audiobook - enjoy
very long and at times it seems to give irrelevant information but then it pulls all the information threads into plot. I really enjoyed listening to every minute of it and Frederick Davidson narrates it beautifully. I would never have got through reading the book and if I had I wouldn't have got as much out of it as I did listening to this audio.
"Epic tale of revolutionary France"
Not for the fainthearted! Around 57 hours. Worth persevering with. The underlying story is brilliant, with the characters being well portrayed. Background details are amazing , quite apart from the story itself. If you don't like detail, such as names, places, dates etc., which tie in with historical fact usually, then possibly a good abridgement might be better for you. Personally, next time I listen to this, I will fast forward some of the chapters.
There is plenty of action, but it does drag in parts. You have battles, revolution, a great hero, some tender romantic moments, bloodthirsty bits, scary bits...it's all there. Well worth persevering with.
"It's what your ears have been waiting for....."
At over 66 hours of listening, this is a lot of book for one credit. I was taking my 80 year old father to see the live show in London and wanted to get a handle on the story before we went - I was blown away by it - a huge story of an immense character, of love, loss, sacrifice, intrigue - you name it this book has it. I wasn't sure of the narrator at first, but soon grew to love his voice and it suited the story so well. I can't rate this book highly enough - but be prepared to have to put your life on hold while you immerse yourself in this truly astonishing novel.
"Amazing novel - well worth the long listen!"
OK, it's long - very long, and as with novels of this time, has long sections that go off on a tangent. But absolutely compelling, and excellent narration. The characters are wonderfully developed, the background so well presented that you believe you are there - even in the sewers! Worth every second.
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