Les Miserables

  • by Victor Hugo
  • Narrated by Frederick Davidson
  • 57 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Set in the Parisian underworld and plotted like a detective story, Les Miserables follows Jean Valjean, originally an honest peasant, who has been imprisoned for 19 years for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his sister's starving family. A hardened criminal upon his release, he eventually reforms, becoming a successful industrialist and town mayor. Despite this, he is haunted by an impulsive former crime and is pursued relentlessly by the police inspector Javert. 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.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

one happy insomniac

I found the unabriged Les Mis an excellent listen. It's interesting enough to keep one from thinking of other things at the end of a long day, but not so interesting it kept me awake. The three volumes have been my bedtime story for the last year. I settle in to bed, set my iPod to turn itself off in thirty minutes, click play, turn the volume down low and let the reader's sexy French accent carry me off to dreamland. Hugo's masterpiece is sublimely suited for this purpose--missing a few minutes here and there doesn't detract from the overall experience of the book. Listeners who are accustomed to the less wordy novels of our time may find Les Miserables frustrating. A contemporary novel is like swimming brisk laps; Hugo's work is like closing your eyes and floating along in the current, trusting to the author's able pen to make the journey pleasant and rewarding. It takes some getting used to, but once you've gotten the knack of relaxing into the pacing, the book's ponderous plot is charming, and its characters richly evoked.
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- Kathryn

in defence of the narrator

It's been years since I listened to this, but recent criticisms of narrator Davidson in the $5.95 promotion of this version of Les Miserables prompt me to weigh in. Since this is an older recording, Davidson is reading in a more "classically" delivered style. I think it fits the text beautifully. Because the novel is a favourite, I also downloaded the equally wonderful - but later and different - George Guidall version. It's also excellent. So - if you're considering this because of the special price, listen to the sample and know that Davidson's style can "grow" on you, especially for 19th century text. One caveat: My download was in an earlier format - I do notice from the sample at least that the "enhanced" conversion of the files might accentuate the "breathing" sounds narrators make --all narrators breathe, so I think it's the production, not Davidson, that brings these sounds out. I like a classic British narrator for prose like this, so I like the late Mr Davidson - you may not.

Finally, if you are looking for a faster paced "Les Mis", there are other revisions of Hugo's novel that might appeal more. Audible is awesome for making the original of this novel available at so accessible a price. It's a different journey than the film (especially the Davidson narrated version) , but one worth making.
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- connie "Narrative makes the world go round."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-22-2003
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.