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Showing 1-10 of 781 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 1,450 reviews
on November 27, 2015
I advise those perusing these reviews to take with a measure of salt the dogmatic pronunciations on the quality of Rose's translation. Provenance is important, and one should always "consider the source." (Yes, even with me.)

A number of interviews with Rose are available online, in which she discusses her work, and her work on this novel. The novel has a lengthy and detailed Translator's Preface, in which she discusses the novel, the translation process, and her approach to it. You also can find online some independent articles about this translation.

The great translator of Spanish language literature, Edith Grossman, said:

"I can't say what makes a book translatable, but I do think that all texts can be translated. The question of whether or not a work is "translatable" stems from a mistaken and widely held notion that a translation is really a one-for-one set of equivalences with the original--a straightforward lexical problem--when in fact it is a rewriting of the first text. Some, of course, are immensely difficult (they're usually just as difficult in the original) and challenge the translator's sensitivity to nuance, levels of meaning, and artistic impact in both languages. I see my work as translating meaning, not words."

Rose has spoken similarly about her work.

"I think the essential difference is that...and I'm not saying that translators always have to do this, there are reasons for departing a little bit further from a writer's text where it just won't work in English. I found on the contrary what really worked better in English was to follow Hugo much more closely than anyone else seems to have done. So I've actually followed his syntax as closely as possible, I've followed the rhythm of his sentences and I've actually broken it up the way he has and stuck more closely to what he says." -- Julie Rose, interview, 2009

She's translated more than thirty French works into English -- plays, poetry, novels, genre fiction. She worked on Les Miserables for three years. She has been awarded three international prizes for her translations. I'm willing to take the leap of faith -- she is "fluent in French." I recommend others accept the facts in plain sight, and do likewise.

I stopped reading works in translation in the early 1980s, and didn't start up again until around 2005. The reason I stopped was that I concluded that I could not hear the author's voice in the translated work. The reason I started again was that Rose, Grossman, and some others showed that they understood this challenge, accepted it, and that it is possible to capture the author's voice in a translation, by actually listening to the author's intent.

According to one account, the Rose translation is almost 100,000 words longer than the 1976 Denny "translation" -- that's how much material he excised from the novel to "improve it." Denny, in fact, is on record as saying that Victor Hugo was a terrible writer, and needed some "tidying up." If you're just looking to pad your reading CV with another of the "great books," then it doesn't matter which one you read. Might as well go with a shorter one. If you're looking to read the translation of Les Mis, that will make you feel like you are reading the original, hearing Victor Hugo's voice, then pick up Rose's translation.
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on December 15, 2016
Who is responsible for this gorgeous design?? I can't tell you how gorgeous this book is in person. My father has a great love for all things Les Mis and when he saw my copy he fell in love. He begged me to give it to him but I love it to much! I just received a second copy that is his Christmas gift this year :) Les Mis is beautiful book anyways, this cover gives it the artwork it deserves. I read the entire book with this copy. I loved the placement, feel, and look of every page. 5 stars isn't enough! This is a truly stunning copy of this beautiful literary work.
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on January 26, 2016
I am by no means a scholar . I cannot compare translations as this is the first book by Victor Hugo that I've read. After seeing the musical I decided to read the book. I'm glad that I did it in this order. Having seen the musical I did not get lost in the book's twists and turns and I had patience when the story went off into different avenues. Likewise I could selectively read the sections on history.

I have always been moved by the story's theme of morality based on law versus morality rooted in love. This book is unquestionably worth reading!! The development of the characters and their struggles are so rich that I found myself crying during parts of the book. While the musical is a moving and touching story , it is nothing compared to the book itself. The best compliment I can give to a book is that touched my life and that its main characters shall live on within my heart. My life is richer for having read this book. The many sections that I have highlighted I shall revisit over and over for years to come.
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on January 13, 2017
My book came within two days and in excellent condition. It was not damaged and it was exactly as pictured in the product. I can't wait to read it!
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on June 17, 2015
The book I received was NOT the book as illustrated (see your image above). I thought I was buying the hardcover book with the little girl sweeping, on the cover. That's NOT what I received. The book cover just had the title Les Miserables on it. The book was a graduation gift, so there was no time to replace the item and purchase something else. I believe that the images shown should reflect EXACTLY what you are buying. I was disappointed in that what I THOUGHT I was buying was NOT what I received.
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on June 8, 2016
As a point of reference, I typically read fiction at a pace of roughly 30 pages per hour (not a fast reader). This work consumed 80 hours, roughly a month of reading for me. The flowery writing style prevalent in so many 19th century writers is one factor, but there is also much to be considered in the themes presented by the author. I reread many passages to make certain that I fully understood the ideas that were being presented, before moving forward. In short, this is not an easy read. There are passages that are beautifully composed, and there are others where the reader must skim the text to advance. In the case of the later, these passages are few, but so exasperating (the listing of street names is one example). As I finished up, I recall coming away with the feeling that I was glad to have read this... the time spent was nothing.
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on March 24, 2017
Very upset about this purchase. Got it expecting it to be the novel OF COURSE and instead I ended up with a very small summary of the book. Now I have to spend another $10 to get the actual novel so of course I'm pissed. I have not read the book but have heard many good reviews in regards to that but THIS was not the book. It's a summary/script and the details did not point that out so be careful what you purchase!
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on December 18, 2012
"Les Misérables" is an epic story of love and penance set against France's political struggles in the 1800's. The "love story" has typical elements involving a young man and woman, but the author also explores love of father, love of grandson, love of daughter, and love of mankind. Penance is the other major element of the story brought out in the incredible life of Jean Valjean. God's providence enables Valjaen to do good unto others in atonement for his past transgressions.

Overall, I enjoyed the story and example the author set throughout the book in doing good deeds to help others. The Bible says, "...all things work together for good to those who love God", and I enjoyed seeing how things ultimately worked out. In some cases, the result may not have been what a person desired in his or her own life, but God can and does work through us to accomplish His will. This is evident in life and in Victor Hugo's story.

Reading this book requires a good amount of patience as Victor Hugo diverges into lengthy examinations of various topics (e.g., the Battle of Waterloo, the history of the Paris sewer system, etc.). He ultimately has a reason for these long discourses, but the pay-off is quite small for your investment of time. These sections do help the reader to understand the times and setting of the story, but I felt they were overly drawn out. I can see how many readers would give up on the book after trudging through pages of seemingly meaningless information.

I chose the Norman Denny translation, which is slightly abridged at 1,232 pages compared to Lee Fahnestock's translation at 1,484 pages. I should note, the missing content is placed into appendices if you really want to get the full experience. Denny opted to abridge several sections where he felt Hugo ran too long and readers would not miss anything by skipping ahead in the story.
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on April 25, 2014
I was looking for a good abridgment of Les Miserables that I could donate to the local prison, since many of the inmates have a lower reading level than classical literature would require. I bought this version based on reviews here on Amazon, and when I received the book I looked through it to see if it had all the vital important parts. It did. :) I've read Les Miserables unabridged, and it took me a year, with a bit of a slog through some tangential (though interesting) parts. This book is accessible to a reader that is unfamiliar with the plot of the novel, without insulting their intelligence or being too choppy or opaque. And it includes some of the most moving and inspiring scenes in all literature, which is why I wanted it to be available to this "captive audience." I'm glad I was able to find a version that kept the heart of Les Mis intact.
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on February 3, 2017
Les Miserables is one the great books of all time. It is 1,220 pages long in this addition, however it is more than worth it. Victor Hugo was a literary genius and the story he constructs here is full of amazing and unforgettable moments. Anyone who loves the Broadway musical will love this book. The book, naturally, goes into greater depth than a musical can, however reading it can show you how faithful the musical is and bring more detail to the great characters that Hugo has created. Buy it now, you will be glad you did.
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