Les Miserables

  • by Victor Hugo
  • Narrated by David Case
  • 12 hrs and 25 mins
  • Abridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Victor Hugo began writing Les Misérables 20 years before its eventual publication in 1862. It is primarily a great humanitarian work that encourages compassion and hope in the face of adversity and injustice. It is also a historical novel of great scope, one that provides a detailed vision of 19th-century French politics and society. Hugo hoped Les Misérables would encourage a more progressive and democratic future and wrote the novel with a literary and political revolution in mind. Les Misérables emphasizes the three major predicaments of the 19th century, each symbolized by a major character: Jean Valjean represents the degradation of man in the proletariat, Fantine represents the subjection of women through hunger, and Cosette represents the atrophy of the child by darkness.

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What the Critics Say

"Hugo's genius was for the creation of simple and recognisable myth. The huge success of Les Miserables as a didactic work on behalf of the poor and oppressed is due to its poetic and myth-enlarged view of human nature....Hugo himself called this novel 'a religious work', and it has indeed the necessary air of having been written by God in one of his more accessible and saleable moods." (V.S. Pritchett)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

TOO Abridged, Read Only if You Won't Read More

Yes I'm a glutton for punishment. I started listening to this last week before the PJC musical opened, in which I played Madame Thenardier. Partly because in some ways I'm OCD - I have to do everything I do all out, so I found I could not read anything other than something from this time period during that last month before we opened. So why not just revisit the book? And partly because our Javert, aka Walters, kept asking me esoteric questions I could not answer ( we've always competed for the prize of being the most well read Les Mis fan). So I found a short version to listen to. This one was only 12 hours long, and you'd be amazed how easy that goes by in the car or while doing chores at home, even when you are super busy in a production.

Honestly, I was really unhappy with this version, because although it was abridged, it has great ratings, so I thought I would get the meat of the story. I was surprised when huge important chunks were completely missing. There is really nothing about Fantine, the rescue of Cosette, the students, the build up to the battle, and there's quite a bit of material that didn't seem necessary.

HOWEVER, I have to confess this delivers AT THE END. I did not realize how much the final part of the musical comes directly from Hugo's pen, particularly the death scene which made me cry.

Bottom line: I only recommend this version for hardcore Les Mis fans who want a bit of a refresher and don't mind important chunks being left out. If you really don't know anything about the book, you'd probably be better off going with at least the 30 hour abridged version. Absolutely do not go for the 2 hour version. If you've only seen the musical, and you want to dig a little deeper, this version will be fine but you'll be sad about the lack of Fantine's story and little Cosette, and you won't gain an understanding about the student rebellion, although Eponine and Gavroche's deaths are exquisite.
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- SydSavvy

This Abridged version misses out Fantine’s story!

What disappointed you about Les Miserables?

There was no unabridged version available when I downloaded this. On re-listening, I realize that despite the fact the first volume of the novel is titled “Fantine” - read out at the start of the audiobook, her story is more-or-less cut,and in a choppy and unsatisfactory manner. She is mentioned about twice, then we see her as a dying woman as Jean Valjean promises to take care of Cosette. I think Victor Hugo was sympathetic to the fate of “les grisettes“, and we should hear about it, so I wouldn’t recommend this version.


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- Jill

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-01-2007
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio