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Les Miserables

by Victor Hugo

Recommended by

Kevin McRoberts

THE award-winning film and stage musical are probably better known than the book which originally gave us the story of Les Miserables.

Brought to life on screen by stars including Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway, Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, first published in 1862, is recognised as one of the great works of western literature.

Thanks to the success of the film, his tale of injustice, heroism and love, following the fortunes of Jean Valjean – an escaped convict determined to put his criminal past behind him – is already well known to a huge audience.

Valjean’s attempts to become a respected member of the community are constantly under threat and he is relentlessly pursued by the dogged Inspector Javert, while he fights to protect the daughter of Fantine, who dies after being driven to prostitution by poverty.

However, the book offers a more in-depth story, with Hugo’s descriptive writing filling the pages - all 1242 of them - with drama, intrigue, tension, wit, hope and heartbreak.

For fans of the film and musical, it’s worth a read.