Les MisérablesPaperback - 2013
The only completely unabridged paperback edition of Victor Hugo's masterpiece--a sweeping tale of love, loss, valor, and passion.
Introducing one of the most famous characters in literature, Jean Valjean--the noble peasant imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread-- Les Misérables ranks among the greatest novels of all time. In it, Victor Hugo takes readers deep into the Parisian underworld, immerses them in a battle between good and evil, and carries them to the barricades during the uprising of 1832 with a breathtaking realism that is unsurpassed in modern prose.
Within his dramatic story are themes that capture the intellect and the emotions: crime and punishment, the relentless persecution of Valjean by Inspector Javert, the desperation of the prostitute Fantine, the amorality of the rogue Thénardier, and the universal desire to escape the prisons of our own minds. Les Misérables gave Victor Hugo a canvas upon which he portrayed his criticism of the French political and judicial systems, but the portrait that resulted is larger than life, epic in scope--an extravagant spectacle that dazzles the senses even as it touches the heart.
Translated by Lee Fahnestock and Norman Macafee, based on the classic nineteenth-century Charles E. Wilbour translation
Inlcudes an Introduction by Lee Fahnestock
and an Afterword by Chris Bohjalian
From Library Staff
This was the first great novel in which I became completely lost. It broke my heart and left me breathlessly turning page after page. Alain Boubill and Claude-Michel Schonberg brought it to the stage in spectacular fashion in 1980 after which it became not only one of my best-loved books but dear... Read More »
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SummaryAdd a Summary
This is a novel about a man named Valjean who is arrested for stealing a loaf of bread. He escapes and after much struggle to find a place to stay in, he is welcomed by a kind bishop who later changes Valjean forever. Valjean creates a new identity as a Mayor and influences everybody he meets (the kindest saint ever!) However, an investigator recognizes the Mayor as the convict from years before. As he tries to stay out of his sight, he is also trying to save this little girl named Cosette. A moving, compelling story... You better read to find out what happens!
Jean Valjean steals a piece of bread because his sister's children are starving. He is imprisoned for five years, but racks up a total of 19 for trying to escape. Once escaped, he breaks parole and creates a new identity; M. Mayor. Fantine, who had a child, Cosette, with a man named Tholoymes is abandoned by him, and is fired from her job in a factory. Cosette stays with an innkeeper and his wife(Fantine pays them, as she is unaware they treat Cosette as a slave), the two Thenardiers, who has three children; Eponine, Azelma, and Gavroche. She is rescued later by Jean Valjean, under the identity of M. Mayor. Jean Valjean feels responsible for Cosette after Fantine dies, and he raises her as his own, escaping Inspector Javert again, who is trying to catch him/find him. Years later when Cosette is 18, she meets Marius Pontmercy, a student, and also part of the Les Amis. The two fall in love. The Les Amis is a group of students(he main character ones are Jehan/Jean Prouvaire, Bousette, Bahorel, Courfeyrac, Gavroche, Grantaire, Combeffere, etc.) who are starting a revolution(the French Revolution). Many small subplot details happen, and then, at the barricade, Eponine saves Marius by blocking a shot, as she's in love with him; she dies. All the Les Amis dies, except Marius who is saved by Jean Valjean who went to the barricade. Jean Valjean saved Javert by pretending to shoot him and let him go free, as he was an infiltrator. Javert jumps off a bridge. Marius recovers and marries Cosette. Jean Valjean leaves to a convent, and Marius and Cosette join him after Thenardier tips them off to his whereabouts. Marius has no idea Jean Valjean saved him. Jean Valjean dies with Marius and Cosette by his side.
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If people did not love one another, I really don't see what use there would be in having any spring.
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