05 December 2012

Les Miserables: Book Review

In every place where man is ignorant and despairing, in every place where woman is sold for bread, wherever the child suffers for lack of the book which should instruct him and of the hearth which should warm him, the book of Les Miserable knocks at teh door and says: "Open to me, I come for you."
Les Miserables, the quintessential French story, isn't just for the French, as Victor Hugo himself said above. It's an epic story of a man chased by a past society remembers but God forgives. It tells of the evils of society, from prostitution to war to injustice to the city sewer. It argues for the right over the law, charity over chastisement, education over imprisonment, humility over pride, whole truth over little lie, the infinite over the finite, peace over war, private conscience over public reputation, and light over dark.

Divine love, motherly love, fatherly love, young love, brotherly love, old love, are all described on the pages of Les Mis. The living faith is compared with the stifled faith; that is, the convent. The letter of the law collides with the conscience and is found wanting.

There is so much wound through this story - it is a story which anyone, anywhere, has experienced at least in part. But Victor Hugo ties it all together magnificently.

In short, you should read it, but know that it's not short. You're running out of time to finish it before this comes out: