Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

Spent the day rereading Les Mis and avoiding the work I should be doing to get ready for school. I loved this book the first time I read it in high school (even with a poor translation) and it just gets better every time.

Jean Valjean, #24601, spends years in prison after stealing a loaf of bread to feed his starving family. When he is finally released, he becomes ever more bitter because no one will give him, an ex-convict, a chance to start a new life. He repays a bishop's hospitality by stealing silverware. Instead of pressing charges, the bishop makes a furthur gift of a pair of silver candlesticks and tells Jean Valjean to use them to make a good life for himself and others.

The plot is complex, combining many storylines and historical connections. Hugo frequently digresses from the main storyline, but his story of love and redemption is a must-read. Once you have read this enormous book, check out the musical. Listen to the Original London Cast Recording. Better yet, go to London and see it live. And bring kleenex--lots of it.

Check out pictures from the musical, see video clips, and even buy tickets for a performance at the official website: http://www.lesmis.com/pages/tickets/tickets.htm.

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