Les Miserables: Even After all These Years

My sister-in-law gave me Les Miserables (by Victor Hugo) for Christmas one year. It was a big book, a tome. But, I was curious. I hadn’t read the book, seen the movies or performances. Also, the story is over 100 years old (closing in on 200 years even) and I really like history. What better way to see history than from the words written by someone who was there.
Reading the book took awhile. I was glad my version of the book was translated by someone who took out some of the less relevant parts. Victor Hugo did go on about a lot of things, like the war which happened before the story in the book, the slang used in France 200 years ago and other things. The editor (Norman Denny) did not remove these sections from the book, but left it up to the reader to decide to read them or not. Which was good because Les Miserables is a very long book with a story which pauses frequently to discuss life and philosophy in what seems a roundabout way by current/ modern standards of book writing.

Victor Hugo wrote Les Miserables almost 200 years ago.

Yet the story isn’t so outside of our own experience with broken families and trying to manage on a tight budget. I had expected the story to be more about poverty and drudgery. It wasn’t. It also was not just about a police chase. I had seen some of the Les Miserables movie made in the 1970s. The part I watched (before turning the channel) was all about Jean Valjean being tracked down by Javert. If this is your impression of the story you should read the book. There is more to it.

Which movie version of Les Miserables have you seen and which was your favourite?