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Les Misérables

Narrated by: Bill Homewood
Length: 67 hrs and 53 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (188 ratings)

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Summary

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
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A surprisingly profound book that has changed me

I started late miserably not knowing what to expect. I was normally a science fiction/fantasy reader but had also recently got into Lee Childs and Dan Brown adding thriller to my repertoire.

I decided to tackle Les Miserables because my children were performing in a musical locally and I thought I should read the book to understand the musical further. I was not prepared for the surprise this book has made upon me.

The only audible review comments that I made notice of was one comment remarking upon how Victor Hugo goes off the storyline over several chapters explaining various background stories or other information. I did encounter this and at first wondered whether it was relevant. In fact, the early part of this book was about the Bishop and this lasted for several hours before the main characters appeared.

However this book has changed me emotionally more than I could’ve predicted. It’s a basic story about a man suffering but rising above his suffering in honour and truth. One could say the same about Luke Skywalker in Star Wars. However, with the musical and the music in my head, along with the amazing amazing narration makes this book a MUST READ and I hope that those who read it after me enjoy it as much as I did.

32 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Incredible

Sociology, history, breathtaking storytelling. If you don't weep at the end, are you even human?

12 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Wonderful though sound quality poor

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.

21 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Glad I finished it

Is there anything you would change about this book?

the volume of the output, it was very quiet

If you’ve listened to books by Victor Hugo before, how does this one compare?

not listened to anything else

What three words best describe Bill Homewood’s performance?

diverse, steady, adaptable

Was Les Misérables worth the listening time?

I think so, although it did take me 6 months on and off to listen to it.

8 people found this helpful

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Superb

Beautifully written epic story. Brilliant, stunning, thought provoking and sad. Wonderful characters. Historically illuminating and intellectually challenging. What more could you want? Fantastically read.

7 people found this helpful

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Brilliant

The story of Les Miserables has never been better narrated I could actually picture the characters and there actions in my mind
Thank you

4 people found this helpful

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Life changing.

Hard work but I can't help thinking Hugo might have made it so on purpose. You have to really commit to get through it but I if I never read anything better I won't be disappointed.

3 people found this helpful

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Superb narration.

Enjoyale from start to finish. The unsight into Parisian life and the attention to detail brought a better understanding to the why and where. The interlinking of the characters was incredible.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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great listen which I thoroughly enjoyed

the author goes on a bit in places which made it hard to keep focus but otherwise loved it!

3 people found this helpful

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  • DK
  • 30-01-16

Captivating story

I have enjoyed every bit of this book. I found Bill Homewood excellent in narrating the story.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Tad Davis
  • 08-11-15

Use earphones that are light on bass

Edited on 8/29/2018. I’m leaving what I said originally unchanged, but note that I raised the overall rating to 4 stars. The recording does seem to be bass-heavy, which gives the sound a muffled quality, if you’re using standard-issue earbuds. This is unusual for Naxos, whose recordings are usually crystal clear. But given the right headphones, Homewood’s narration takes off: he maintains a formal style and yet remains passionate throughout. All the characters have distinct voices, filled with emotion, and the language of the translation, though it is an old one, soars at times to heights of eloquence. It’s a deeply moving reading.

ORIGINAL REVIEW: 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 [EDIT: actually, better than anyone I’ve ever heard]. 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.

43 people found this helpful

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  • T Cyr
  • 01-02-16

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.

11 people found this helpful

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  • nateographer
  • 14-05-16

Terrible Audio quality

Any additional comments?

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.

25 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • ccoco
  • 22-07-15

Anazing!

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.

8 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-12-17

Breathtaking, Heart-wrenching, Sublime

I cannot overstate how much I love this book nor can I think of another book that has so thoroughly captivated me in all it's depth, peopled with characters I will never forget.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • N.
  • 09-11-17

Sound quality needs improvement.

Important classic, timeless beauty and masterful narration. Sound quality needs improvement; otherwise I would have given a five star rating.




3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • McKaylla
  • 25-01-17

One of the best books I've ever read (or listened to)

I've learned a lot from this story. I know you will too. Read it! It's long, but it's worth it.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Bluestramp
  • 06-07-15

Magnificent !

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".

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • William Warstler
  • 18-03-20

Les Excellence

Loved it! An exhaustive story finely detailed. Moving and inspiring. A testament of humanity.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 24-02-20

Fantastic performance of a sluggish classic

I purchased this audiobook because I'd listened to Bill Homewood's performance of The Count of Monte Cristo, and that one is, hands down, my favorite audiobook of all time. The narration was excellent here too. It's true that the audio quality is lacking, but I listened in my car with the bass turned all the way down and it sounded just fine.

That said, I'm not sure that Les Miz is really worth ~68 hours of listening time. Granted, this is a classic, but it's not a very readable (or listen-able) one. The pace is sluggish and many characters are underdeveloped. At times, Victor Hugo seems so impressed with his own brilliance that he just can't help sharing his supposedly amazing insights at the expense of his own plot. Personally, I found this book preachy and irritating, and kept going only because of Bill Homewood's narration -- he's so good that I'd listen to him read the tax code.

1 person found this helpful