Aah, I just love a bit of Les Mis!
Do you hear the people sing,Singing the songs of angry men?It is the music of the peopleWho will not be slaves again!
It was thirty years ago this month that I exited the Palace Theatre in London with those lyrics reverberating through my head. As many other people have probably done before and since, I immediately resolved to tackle reading Victor Hugo's masterpiece.
The written narrative of the life of Jean Valjean in Les Miserables is magnificent and so very much more than is told in either the musical or any of the films. It is well known that the book comprises a daunting number of pages. At the time I had never attempted to read such a long work, but I found out something that made the book so much more accessible to me. Please don't tell anyone who told you this, but you really don't need to read every chapter! There are numerous sections of the book where Hugo makes rambling diversions, such as detailing the history of the Convent of Petit-Picpus or the building of the Parisian sewers. Some may consider it sacrilegious when I say that chapters such as these can be skimmed or even skipped altogether as the principal characters play no part in them whatsoever.