A few words of advice about Les Miserables... Buy an old copy (am I allowed to say that!). I found mine in an antique bookstore. It's an old beat-up hardcover. It just makes the whole experience more...historic! Dare to read the unabridged edition. If Hugo could have told this story in fewer words he would have. Don't cheat yourself out of the real thing. Charles Wilbour's translation is an excellent one. Take your time with it. When you get frustrated by lengthy explanations and background information, put it down and come back to it. But don't give up! Les Miserables is one of the greatest stories every written. Hugo brings to life such weighty concepts as Grace, Forgiveness, Repentance, and Redemption and Salvation. The spiritual imagery is very rich. The interaction between Jean Valjean and the Bishop is absolutely life changing. "Jean Valjean my brother: you belong no longer to evil, but to good. It is your soul that I am buying for you. I withdraw it from dark thoughts and from the spirit of perdition, and I give it to God!"