Monday, January 9, 2012

Les Miserables by Victor hugo

"Citizens, do you imagine the future? The streets of the cities flooded with light, green branches on the thresholds, the nations sisters, men just, the old blessing the children, the past loving the present, thinkers in full liberty, believers in full equality, for religion the heavens; God a direct priest, human conscience the alter, no more hatred, the fraternity of the workplace and the school, for reward and for penalty, notoriety; to all, labor; for all, law; over all, peace; no more bloodshed, no more war, mothers happy!" -Les Miserables by Victor Hugo  pg 1189

This book was technically part of last years challange to read a huge chunk of classics. However, when the New Year began and I had only completed half of the book, I decided to finish reading it and count it toward this years challange; it was on my shelf after all. I will be forever happy that I decided this as this was one of the most amazing books I have had the chance to read.

At 1463 pages, the unabridged version tends to scare off many readers. But those deteremined to make the commitment are rewarded with the story of one of my now all-time favorite characters, Jean Valjean.
This book is the story of his journey from his release from prison in 1815, and follows his many transformations and trials over the years to follow.

Now, there are parts of the book that tend to slow the narrative down a little. I refer to them as M. Hugo's history lessons. And while he is a very informed and excited history teacher, eager to share with the reader all he knows that he believes to be pertenint to the context of the story, he does also tend to be long winded. That being said, if one takes the time to read these lessons all the way through they gain fascinating knowledge about: individuals briefly important to the story, the battle at Waterloo, history of the Argot language from which sayings are still used by the youth of today, and the intricate sewer systems of 1800's Paris. I have learned a lot, and I must say I am happy to have gained that chance.

The real story is following Jean Valjean however, and watching his character grow and progress was a most rewarding experience for this particular reader. He has become a beloved friend as I followed him though the years. And just as amazing as he is, the character of Javert is as stubborn, and the character of Thernardier is as wicked. All three going around in circles makes this story an amazing read with twists and turns that often times made me actually gasp!

I recommend this book to any and everybody who will take the time to sit down and read it. And if the hefty appearnace frightens you, at least take the time to see the musical as I hear it is just as incredible. I am eagerly awaiting the day I too get to sit in my seat and listen to the amazing story of Jean Valjean and everyone he encountered.

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