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Publisher's Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.   

This Penguin Classic is performed by an ensemble cast which includes the BAFTA award-winning actor Adeel Akhtar (Killing Eve, The Night Manager, Les Miserables), Adrian Scarborough (Gavin and Stacey, The King's Speech), Natalie Simpson (Outlander, Les Miserables), Emma Fielding (Unforgotten, Les Miserables) and John Owen-Jones, who was the youngest actor ever to play the part of Jean Valjean in the stage show of Les Miserables, and who has appeared as Jean Valjean on Broadway and in the West End. This definitive recording includes an introduction by Robert Tombs. 

Victor Hugo's tale of injustice, heroism and love follows the fortunes of Jean Valjean, an escaped convict determined to put his criminal past behind him. But his attempts to become a respected member of the community are constantly put under threat: by his own conscience and by the relentless investigations of the dogged policeman Javert. It is not simply for himself that Valjean must stay free, however, for he has sworn to protect the baby daughter of Fantine, driven to prostitution by poverty.

Public Domain (P)2020 Penguin Audio

What listeners say about Les Misérables

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Exceptional story but beware the digressions

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Les Mis but readers should be ready for regular, lengthy digressions from the central story. Whilst aspects of these digressions can be fascinating, they are often too long and it may be sensible to simply skip over those that don’t appeal. You will fully understand these comments when you listen to it. There is a good explanation of why Hugo constructed the book this way in the ‘introduction’ at the end which is well worth listening to. I don’t mean to be too negative- it is an excellent production and will bring tears at certain key moments.

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One of the best

There some pretty long historical interludes that dont have much bearing on the story that I recommend listening to at double speed for a quick overview but otherwise I think this is one of the greatest tales ever told, stunning, witty, poignant

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  • Rain Wiegartner
  • 07-06-2020

Great Book, Great Translation, 5 Great Narrators

Not for the faint of heart or those looking for a quick read, Hugo's classic is brought to light with wonderful, evocative prose in description and frequent cheeky casual dialogue from characters (at least in the latter sections of the book). One important feature of this unabridged version is that it retains numerous digressions that provide historical context, social and spiritual truths, and the mental states of characters within the text. Overall, they add hugely to the work and show that the events are not mere things that happen, but show fundamental truths (in the author's mind) about society, God, virtue and happiness. They can at times drag, especially when they discuss poetically speak of history that a modern reader without a PhD in late 18th to early 19th century history won't understand or connect to, but they are ultimately essential to a reader wanting more than just the plot. This recording consists of 5 narrators, 1 for each "part" of the book. Pronunciation, character voice and accent, and quality are remarkably consistent throughout. The first change over is jarring (which, unfortunately, contributes further to the famous difficulty of overcoming the Waterloo section) but the gimmick works remarkably well (and keeps these fine narrators' voices sturdy). The quality of the narration is shockingly great, with emotional speeches delivered appropriately and with great diction, cadence, and rhythm from all narrators. If you want to tackle Les Miserables in audio form, this edition appears definitive.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Litwit
  • 05-06-2020

Multiple narrators, and volume issues

I love this story and have listened to multiple versions and translations. This one is my least favorite. The multiple narrators are jarring, and the audio keeps jumping from low to high volume.

5 people found this helpful

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  • DM
  • 28-06-2020

First time

I've not read this, seen the musical, or movie before. needless to say it was everything I've thought it to be. fantastic! lived the whole thing. especially how the history is woven through it from the eyes of characters that lived it. great from start to finish

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  • Peeches
  • 25-10-2020

Classic for a reason

The story of Les Miserable is one that resonates today just as much as when Victor Hugo wrote it. Beautiful and heartbreaking. Brokenness with a cry for redemption. The length of the audio lends itself to the different narrators. I wish I could give more stars.

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  • Zhiyue Zhang
  • 15-10-2020

A book of every genre

Fabulous fiction and performance. Beside the greatness of story telling and the language, the mini stories, short histories and commentaries in the long digressions are really stylish and lovely.

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  • Joseph Manning
  • 22-08-2020

Wonderful audiobook

Whilst long it was worth it - Hugo's story told with excellence. Well worth every minute.

1 person found this helpful

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