Title: Les Miserables
Adapted by: Crystal Silvermoon
Illustrator: SunNeko Lee
Publisher: Udon Entertainment
Publication Date: August 19, 2014
Les Miserables is a story that has been adapted many different times and in various formats. The novel itself is quite the beast of a story, coming in at almost 1,500 pages. It’s a classic and moving story of love and tragedy set in 19th century France, but it can be difficult to wade through. Given the choice between even an abridged copy and other options on a reading list, high school students are more than likely going to pass up digging into this classic. By adapting Les Miserables to manga form, it opens the original story up to even more readers while remaining true to the heart of Victor Hugo’s novel with the complexities of right and wrong, justice, and human nature. While the account of the riots that took place after General Lamarque’s death are fictionalized–just as they are in the source material–there is a definite attempt to capture the feeling and setting of France and the history of the French Revolution.
As with any adaptation, some things have been omitted and order of events tweaked to fit the new format, but that lends itself to examining stories through a different lens. Pair the manga scenes with the matching passages from the book and scenes from movie adaptations for an activity on how information is presented through different medias.
The Manga Classics series includes Pride and Prejudice and the forthcoming titles Great Expectations, Emma, and The Scarlet Letter.