by Victor Hugo
Originally published 1862
Although it is long, cumbersome, bigger than life, and rather unconventional in structure, Les Miserables by Victor Hugo is arguably the greatest novel of all time. Leo Tolstoy, author of War and Peace, has even said as much.
Les Miserables contains some of the most memorable characters in all of fiction: Jean Valjean, Fantine, Inspector Javert, the Thenardiers, Marius, Eponine, and more. Hugo’s love of France shines throughout the novel. But for me it is Hugo’s tremendous compassion for the poor and downtrodden that stands above all else. The story is a titanic struggle of good versus evil, with little ambiguity as to which is which.
I read most books I love more than once. Thus far I’ve read Les Miserables – all 1400 pages of it – twice. I will revisit it again and again.