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Thérèse Raquin (1867)

by Émile Zola

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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3,129794,248 (3.76)270
The story of a girl trapped in an unhappy marriage to her first cousin so captivated the French writer Emile Zola that he explored it in multiple works, producing both a novel and a play based on the same core set of characters. The protagonist, Camille, becomes desperate and takes matters into her own hands, committing what may be the perfect crime in order to build a new life for herself. Will she get away with it, or will her paralyzing guilt give her away?… (more)
Recently added byjandrew76, private library, VinSalad, AFKO, MissWatson, Gunnarf, kmwndmldrs, anglosaxonsaga, Mippy14, AShepher
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» See also 270 mentions

English (72)  Italian (3)  French (2)  Danish (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (79)
Showing 1-5 of 72 (next | show all)
Not terribly good. The prose is solid and strong, but the story is boring and drawn out. It reminds me a lot of The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe. What Poe did in a short story has been extended to a full-length novel here. Sort of a waste, but will consider Zola again, only upon recommendation though. ( )
  MXMLLN | Jan 12, 2024 |
8474616239
  archivomorero | Aug 20, 2023 |
My very first Zola and very much a novel of two halves - on the one hand, the beginning of this is absolutely fantastic with detailed realist and almost cinematic description establishing the scene and main personages with a really observant eye, from there evolving into a compelling psychological fiction. Up until the Big Change, this almost feels like the archetypal film noir plot or even a slightly surreal embryonic erotic thriller as it's also incredibly daring in its depiction of murderous lust; some of the sexiest writing you'll see from a 19th century novel as well as pungently violent and passionate. With how compelling this was proving to be I was well prepared for this to be an all-timer for me... and then it all turned round.

After the pivotal scene, this begins to evolve in a direction which increasingly detaches from the original realist intention into almost horror fic territory, something more like Poe than I could have ever expected coupled with an unusual depiction of corporeal guilt that feels at once (like many things in this novel) very of its time and very modern. Unfortunately this change isn't an elegant one, and I feel like from the (excellently written and gruesome) morgue sequence it begins to get incrementally less compelling and more repetitive, eventually becoming quite grating in how much suffering and sadism it mets out on both the reader and the characters. The temperaments concept, while interesting, also contributes to this as it feels like the people here become increasingly stereotyped and flat and the Huis Clos-esque claustrophobia doesn't come off well when coupled with so many repeated events and a bombardment of needless cruelty. I'm all for depressing and dark but it all begins to feel a little cheap when there's not even a hint of transcendence or social comment in the mix and the complete dourness only made reaching the ending more of a slog on that front.

So in summary, there's half a great novel in here and half a disappointment - won't put me off Zola too much however as the good stuff here is really good and I'm aware this was only his third or so novel written at 27 (!) years of age, so we'll see how my experience with the Rougon-Macquarts goes in the future.

_______

I started to be able to sight read towards the end of this without too much difficulty and I noticed my reading speed picked up greatly and I became much more fluid a reader with the language by the time I was done - I really don't feel like French is a foreign language to me by this point. Granted I moved through the last sections quite swiftly as I wanted to be done by that point but the fact I read a novel I was considering to be quite a great challenge with some ease is really encouraging for me. ( )
  franderochefort | Aug 5, 2023 |
4½ stars for the audiobook narrated by Kate Winslet. Her voice & pronunciation were both delightful, and she managed to capture the horrors of Therese and Laurent without being ghoulish. ( )
  leslie.98 | Jun 27, 2023 |
While none of the characters in this novel are very nice, Zola manages to make them human and thus understandable. Immensely readable, this tale of lust and murder focuses on the psychological toll of committing murder. I am glad that I read it (well, actually mostly listened to the audiobook edition) but doubt I would ever reread this. ( )
  leslie.98 | Jun 27, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 72 (next | show all)
sebbene i francesi vogliano fare i primi della classe in letteratura, arte, filosofia, poesia, non saranno mai in grado di realizzare questo utopico sogno.
perchè la falsità li forgia dalla notte dei tempi
added by sshnn | editmilano, ss (Dec 2, 2012)
 

» Add other authors (167 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Émile Zolaprimary authorall editionscalculated
Buss, RobinTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Degas, EdgarCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lysy, KatiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Palmgren, GunnarCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pape, GeorgeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pastore, Stephen R.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Petriconi, HellmuthAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rothwell, AndrewIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rothwell, AndrewTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stevenson, JulietNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thorpe, AdamTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Traci SvendsgaardNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Winslet, KateNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Xenakis, FrançoisePrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zetterholm, ToreForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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At the end of the Rue Guenegaud, coming from the quays, you find the Arcade of the Pont Neuf, a sort of narrow, dark corridor running from the Rue Mazarine to the Rue de Seine.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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The story of a girl trapped in an unhappy marriage to her first cousin so captivated the French writer Emile Zola that he explored it in multiple works, producing both a novel and a play based on the same core set of characters. The protagonist, Camille, becomes desperate and takes matters into her own hands, committing what may be the perfect crime in order to build a new life for herself. Will she get away with it, or will her paralyzing guilt give her away?

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140449442, 0141194782

 

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