Les Mis - persevere or not?

(20 Posts)
Dysgu Tue 20-Aug-13 23:09:48

I have been reading the translation of this classic for 3 nights now and have finally reached the arrival of Jean Valjean. This means I am about 4% of the way through the novel.

Now, I have no problem with the length of the novel but to have spent so much time on just the one character so far... does it carry on like this? I know the basic story/have watched the film and quite fancy knowing more about the characters which I presume will happen if I read the book as compared with the film.

Have you read it - and not just an abridged version? Should I persevere?

Am off to read some more now so will check in later/tomorrow morning (depends if DS wakes in the night for a feed!)

Thanks for your thoughts.

fengirl1 Tue 20-Aug-13 23:16:03

I started reading whilst on holiday and am about a quarter of the way in.... Ive had a break for a while (RL got in the way!) but want to carry on. Jean Valjean gets more interesting, and you've probably guessed the plots are very interwoven.

schilke Tue 20-Aug-13 23:36:16

I read it years ago when I was a teenager. I read the whole book quite easily....don't think I would now blush I read The phantom of the opera straight afterwards. Then I could read anything. Now I find some books tedious. Perhaps it's because I have less free time now.

So, I would say don't persevere if you're not enjoying it...it's a waste of time.

Mhw02 Wed 21-Aug-13 10:03:02

The whole book is very, very, er...in-depth, and includes numerous digressions (several chapters on the history of the Paris sewers, for example), but it's absolutely worth the read. It's probably my favourite book.

Which translation are you reading though, as I think that makes a massive difference? I've got the original English translation by Charles E Wilbour, which I love. I find the Julie Rose translation too modern - I find it lacks the poetry of the earlier translation and doesn't "fit" with the time the book was written, and the Norman Denny translation is actually quite heavily abridged.

Gingerdodger Thu 12-Sep-13 19:07:02

The book does meander a lot with some chapters leaving me wondering where it was going, I have to confess to some skim reading in those parts! I read it primarily because I had watched the film and there were chunks that I felt must have had much more to them (and there were).

I really did enjoy it but like you was baffled at the opening pages with no sign of Jean Valjean.

Definitely worth sticking with and I would like to go back and read again.

I am reading this currently and I skip the treatises! More story, less guff please.

noisytoys Fri 13-Sep-13 00:00:11

I just watched the film. It's fab smile

Elsiequadrille Fri 13-Sep-13 00:06:03

It's worth a read (if you read and got along with War and Peace you'll be fine), and (sorry) is, of course, better than the film/play versions etc

Elsiequadrille Fri 13-Sep-13 00:09:08

Skip the Battle of Waterloo if need be grin

Oh yes it feels very similar to War and Peace. And The Count of Monte Cristo.

It was a bad time for novel writing I think!

Gingerdodger Fri 13-Sep-13 08:01:23

I actually see it as a novel written for a different time. It reminds me of some TV series or soaps where plots can meander and take a while to develop. It seems less constrained than a lot of novels today which have very tight plots. Possibly before TV and film our approach to reading was different.

I am also guessing that some of the historical stuff would have been really interesting to a lot of the audience at the time. It might have been more akin to us reading about WW2 for example, close enough to feel connected and a natural curiosity.

You are actually inspiring me to go back and read properly the bits I skimmed as I think I would have more patience with them now I know where the story goes.

I did end up loathing Cosette though. Not sure that is what he had in mind. Thought she was wet in the film but couldn't stand her by the end of the book.

CelticPromise Fri 13-Sep-13 08:49:20

I'm interested in this, I'm currently having a break from the book which I found to be flipping hard work. I'd like to go back to it though. Interesting about the different translations, I'll check which one I have.

thesixteenthtry Thu 19-Sep-13 21:07:57

Mine was the Wilbure translation too though I started the more modern one and didn't like it.
Just miss out all the chunks on Hugo's hobby horses.
I loved it and went straight on to love Notre Dame too. Stick with it if you like other old books.

Cooroo Tue 24-Sep-13 23:35:53

Persevere. Don't skip. The writing is all fantastic and very wise and humane. Accept it's going to be a long read and just let him take you along. There's so much more to it than just the story.

Tubemole1 Mon 30-Sep-13 23:41:59

I tried and failed. I would give up blush grin .

EBearhug Mon 30-Sep-13 23:48:39

I read it while travelling and camping - i.e. no other distractions most evenings, except worries about whether my headtorch batteries would last. Makes it much easier to keep going.

It is worth persevering with, but I do find real life or at least wittering away online really eats into my reading time these days.

You might have to cut down on/give up MN for the duration.

EBearhug Mon 30-Sep-13 23:51:41

I read it while travelling and camping - i.e. no other distractions most evenings, except worries about whether my headtorch batteries would last. Makes it much easier to keep going.

It is worth persevering with, but I do find real life or at least wittering away online really eats into my reading time these days.

You might have to cut down on/give up MN for the duration.

EBearhug Mon 30-Sep-13 23:51:44

I read it while travelling and camping - i.e. no other distractions most evenings, except worries about whether my headtorch batteries would last. Makes it much easier to keep going.

It is worth persevering with, but I do find real life or at least wittering away online really eats into my reading time these days.

You might have to cut down on/give up MN for the duration.

EBearhug Mon 30-Sep-13 23:54:13

I read it while travelling and camping - i.e. no other distractions most evenings, except worries about whether my headtorch batteries would last. Makes it much easier to keep going.

It is worth persevering with, but I do find real life or at least wittering away online really eats into my reading time these days.

You might have to cut down on/give up MN for the duration.

EBearhug Tue 01-Oct-13 00:47:54

Ah, sorry about the multiple posts. Duff network connection made me think nothing had happened.

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