As we see the newest assault on groups of innocent people by psychopaths and deranged individuals set loose on society by our "blame somebody else" attitude, I encountered Victor Hugo's masterpiece, in 3 wonderful ways: my granddaughter insisted I watch the musical "Les Miserables" with her. It was her fifth time to watch. I was amazed that a 17 year old felt such intensity about a film, especially one with one horrible tragedy after another that ends with everyone dead.
The second way I encountered it was reading it. The movie was like a trailer at the theater; even with its powerful music and drama, it only touched down in pulsing places and left me eager to read between the lines. After two months reading on Kindle I am up to 42% of the book, and impatient to pick it up every evening.
The third way I encountered it was falling in love with one Dudu Fisher, Israeli singer whose Jean Valjean mesmerized. His music, floating from the passionate Les Miserables to playful Fiddler on the Roof to resolute Exodus, is like Hugo's novel, timeless and transcending.
I found this quote from Victor Hugo that seems to explain his reason for writing Les Miserables. It was what I needed to tell me why I have been so captivated, why my granddaughter and countless others have felt so pulled into its orbit. It cries out with our voice about our world, our time, our need that evil should cease and good be ordered.
"I don't know whether it will be read by everyone, but it is meant for everyone. It addresses England as well as Spain, Italy as well as France, Germany as well as Ireland, the republics that harbour slaves as well as empires that have serfs. Social problems go beyond frontiers. Humankind's wounds, those huge sores that litter the world, do not stop at the blue and red lines drawn on maps. Wherever men go in ignorance or despair, wherever women sell themselves for bread, wherever children lack a book to learn from or a warm hearth, Les Miserables knocks at the door and says: "open up, I am here for you". ...Victor Hugo