I found this funny review of Les Miserables (the book) [ack! link deleted!] on GoodReads via Kobo. It’s been 20 years since I read it myself, but it rings true.
…you will not read the abridged version. Don’t you dare. Don’t even think the word “abridged.” Yeah, I know, Victor Hugo frequently turns away from the main narrative to focus on side characters, historical events, religion, philosophy, and other subjects. That’s why this isn’t called “Jean Valjean’s Excellent Adventure.”
The review even mentions the Paris sewers. Because, really, it would have to.
The crazy thing is that, after seeing the movie, digging out my own review of the new stage version, and stumbling on this review of the book…I’m starting to consider re-reading the novel. Because obviously I have gobs of spare time and no new books to read. And at 1200 pages, it’s only 1 1/3 times as long as A Memory of Light! By page count, anyway. It’s not as if the Les Mis edition I have has tiny type, making those page counts not comparable. And it’s not as if Victor Hugo’s prose is that much denser than Robert Jordan, right?
If I do this, it’s going to take me months.
On the other hand, Katie suggested I could live-tweet the re-read. It would be slow, but hey, it could be interesting.
Update: I’m moving forward with the re-read and online commentary!