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Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, Norman Denny

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One of the great passions of my adolescence, by the author that ruined Dickens for me forever; a massive, breathtaking novel, thrilling but literary, perfectly poised between epic and melodrama. It follows over three decades and through many adventures across post-revolutionary France the progress of Jean Valjean, an ex-convict who has broken parole, seeking a life of redemption, and, in his wake, Inspector Javert, the incorruptible lawman who seeks to bring him to justice. A perfect novel of struggle, self-knowledge, compassion and what it means to be human.


Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, Norman Denny

Victor Hugo's tale of injustice, heroism and love follows the fortunes of Jean Valjean, an escaped convict determined to put his criminal past behind him. But his attempts to become a respected member of the community are constantly put under threat: by his own conscience, when, owing to a case of mistaken identity, another man is arrested in his place; and by the relentless investigations of the dogged policeman Javert. It is not simply for himself that Valjean must stay free, however, for he has sworn to protect the baby daughter of Fantine, driven to prostitution by poverty. A compelling and compassionate view of the victims of early nineteenth-century French society, Les Miserables is a novel on an epic scale.


'One of the few indisputably great novels that can be read as breathlessly as any thriller - because that is what it is! The unrelenting pursuit of Jean Valjean by the police agent Javert, culminating in the desperate escape attempt through the sewers of Paris, is the essence of the book and the vehicle that carries the cargo of psychological, political and moral debate. Whatever Hugo tells us in the novel only possesses the terrible weight of truthfulness because this monumental work is also perhaps the greatest thriller of them all.' (Kirkus UK)

About the Author

Victor Hugo was born in 1820. He was one of France's greatest poets, dramatists and novelists. During his lifetime he produced twenty volumes of poetry, nine novels and ten plays. He was deeply concerned with the social and political developments ofhis time and his outspokenness eventually forced him to leave France until 1870 when he was elected to the national assembly.

Norman Denny was educated at Radley College.

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Book Info

Publication date

25th March 1982


Victor Hugo, Norman Denny

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Penguin Classics an imprint of Penguin Books Ltd


1232 pages


Classic fiction (pre c 1945)



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