Les Miserables – Take 2

28 Feb

les misA few years ago (geez, has it really been that long), I attempted to read Les Miserables (written by Victor Hugo). It has been on my goal list of books to read, since I fell in love with the musical nearly 15 years ago. But like many of my reading goals, I fizzled out on it about halfway through (which shouldn’t be too much of a surprise to anyone who knows me).

Fast forward to December 2015 and when I was putting together a list of challenge books to tackle in 2016, I decided to put Les Mis back on the list to try again. And to make it even better, in an audiobook group that I am part of, we started talking about bucket list books and several people mentioned Les Mis. Before long, the idea had been thrown out to do a buddy listen over the next few months.

There are a wide variety of translations of Les Miserable available. In my inital foray, I went with Norman Denny’s translation from 1976. According to this article on Hubpage, is supposed to be one of the translations that does a pretty good job of keeping Hugo’s original language, but making it more readable in Modern English. However, when I was looking at available audiobooks, the Denny version wasn’t available (or at least, not that I could see) – so based on the narrator (George Guidall, who I like), I ended up going with the Julie Rose translation. The Rose translation is one of the newer ones available (having been done in 2008) and supposedly one where she takes some liberty with the translation, adding some quips here and there. This translation has been seen as possibly ruining Hugo’s voice – so it will be interesting to see how it flows in audio.

Anyone else interested in joining me for a Les Mis read or listen? i’m planning on kicking it off on February 1st (on my commute either to or from work) and going to ration it, so make sure that I have time to enjoy it as well as process it.


Posted by on February 28, 2016 in Buddy Listen


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2 responses to “Les Miserables – Take 2

  1. QuirkyVictorian

    March 11, 2016 at 10:58 pm

    I absolutely love Les Miserables! I have read it five times so far and I get something new out of it every time. Just a note about translations: the first translation I was exposed to was the Fahnestock one (Signet Classics’ paperback is this translation) and I really love that one. Recently, I purchased the Rose translation and am reading through it. I am actually enjoying it. There are some things that strike me as being a little too modern (for example, characters telling each other to “shut up.”) But overall I am finding that it flows very nicely and I think it is a refreshing translation for modern audiences.

    • Dee

      March 11, 2016 at 11:56 pm

      there have been a few times already where i’ve made note of possible anachronisms to check out – like, she referred to jail as being in the clink…apparently that actually has its origins in the 12th century, when the jail known as the clink (because of the sound the bars made when people walked by them) was built


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