What I’m Reading: Les Miserables

I have always loved the Broadway musical, which I rediscovered after forgetting about it, in 2022, first on CD, and then through DVDs checked out of the library. It’s an inspiring musical and I’m glad to be inspired by it still. The singing drove me this time to the book, which I’ll be reading for quite a while. I’m 1/3rd through the 1500 pager by Victor Hugo.

As Hugo says in what I just read, his story is the divine as it shines through the faces of the world. The characters are secondary. I think he also said this to justify his twenty to forty pages on describing the nunnery, its history, practices, events, tidbits, devotions, self-tortures, where Jean Valjean is right now hiding out in the spot where I’m impinged in the narrative. Well, I can’t say I have enjoyed this interlude as much as the Battle of Waterloo earlier. At the same time, I’m edified by it.

Praise to Victor Hugo, a master among masters. Like Phillip Roth said of Charles Dickens (in one of his novels through a mouthpiece of a character, and I paraphrase), what a heart! It’s an unforgettable journey and I can’t wait for it not to end. Except, for me, when it does end, it’s the sort of book that will travel with me . . . which will help me see what comes up a bit better . . . a beneficial reference . . . and make choices.


G. H. Mosson