Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

lesmis.jpgBallantine Books, 400 pages.

Les Miserbles, for all its acclaimed glory as the battlecry novel of the 1870 French Revolution, will above all be remembered by me as a book that best portrays a father’s love and man’s innate goodness.

They are not much at the moment–but in all my readings, I have never encountered a character I admired so much as Jean Valjean. Here is the journey of a simple man who is corrupted and toughened by hard times–in and out of the galleys a dozen or so times. Yet we see that goodness prevails over all, as his marvelous integrity and love shines towards the end. (I admired his principled person so much that tears flowed unknowingly when Javert captures him the first time)

I do not see much of a love story between Cosette and Marius, but they are indeed needed in order to complete Jean Valjean’s character change, growth, and end.

A novel like this does not deserve a synopsis which may break the beautiful essence of it but allow me to say that Les Miserables should be read by any individual who remains hopeful towards mankind and society.

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