by Victor Hugo (1862)
No need to recount in detail the particulars of this epic tale of twisted justice about a peasant condemned to prison for stealing a loaf of bread. This Hugo masterwork is on most short lists for the greatest novels of all time. His savage view of contemporary French society was not well-received by contemporary critics but proved wildly popular all over Europe. The work has endured as a classic, if sentimental, work of art.
Note: The popular TV series The Fugitive was inspired, in part, by Les Miserables. The dogged hunt for Richard Kimble by Lt. Philip Gerard was a purposeful nod to Inspector Javert’s similarly obsessive pursuit of Jean Valjean.