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Therese Raquin (eBook)

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Emile Zola was a French novelist who wrote in the school of naturalism and is noted for his work in revolutionizing France. The Rougon-Macquart series brought Zola literary fame and is considered his life work. It took 25 years to finish the 20 volumes. The idea of writing the social history of a family encompassing several volumes probably came from his reading the works Emile Zola was a French novelist who wrote in the school of naturalism and is noted for his work in revolutionizing France. The Rougon-Macquart series brought Zola literary fame and is considered his life work. It took 25 years to finish the 20 volumes. The idea of writing the social history of a family encompassing several volumes probably came from his reading the works of Balzac. Zola shows how people in a family who appear to be quite individualistic are actually quite similar. Heredity and proximity determine who we are and how we act. Theresa Raquin was first published in 1867 in serial form in L; Artiste. In 1873 Zola turned the novel into a play. In Theresa Raquin a well-intentioned aunt marries a young woman to her first cousin. Camille is sickly and selfish, and when the opportunity arises, Therese enters into a tragic affair with Camille's friend Laurent. Zola called this novel a scientific study of temperament instead of a character study making it an example of naturalism.


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Emile Zola was a French novelist who wrote in the school of naturalism and is noted for his work in revolutionizing France. The Rougon-Macquart series brought Zola literary fame and is considered his life work. It took 25 years to finish the 20 volumes. The idea of writing the social history of a family encompassing several volumes probably came from his reading the works Emile Zola was a French novelist who wrote in the school of naturalism and is noted for his work in revolutionizing France. The Rougon-Macquart series brought Zola literary fame and is considered his life work. It took 25 years to finish the 20 volumes. The idea of writing the social history of a family encompassing several volumes probably came from his reading the works of Balzac. Zola shows how people in a family who appear to be quite individualistic are actually quite similar. Heredity and proximity determine who we are and how we act. Theresa Raquin was first published in 1867 in serial form in L; Artiste. In 1873 Zola turned the novel into a play. In Theresa Raquin a well-intentioned aunt marries a young woman to her first cousin. Camille is sickly and selfish, and when the opportunity arises, Therese enters into a tragic affair with Camille's friend Laurent. Zola called this novel a scientific study of temperament instead of a character study making it an example of naturalism.

30 review for Therese Raquin (eBook)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Paul Bryant

    You don't need another Coca Cola Or the latest Francis Ford Coppola You don't need a holiday in Angola You need this novel by Emile Zola It's raw like a bad case of ebola It's atomic like gay enola Not pretty like a gladiola Or sweet like a tune from a old victrola He told the truth like the Ayatollah He was revolutionary like Hizbollah He never needed no payola He didn't have a Motorola He wrote the truth, he was Emile Zola Like a panel he was solar Nineteenth century rock and roller He put Balzac back in his You don't need another Coca Cola Or the latest Francis Ford Coppola You don't need a holiday in Angola You need this novel by Emile Zola It's raw like a bad case of ebola It's atomic like gay enola Not pretty like a gladiola Or sweet like a tune from a old victrola He told the truth like the Ayatollah He was revolutionary like Hizbollah He never needed no payola He didn't have a Motorola He wrote the truth, he was Emile Zola Like a panel he was solar Nineteenth century rock and roller He put Balzac back in his baby stroller And this ain't no litcrit hyperbola

  2. 4 out of 5

    MJ Nicholls

    You know how it is. Your mother marries you to your sexless cousin and in silent defiance you enter a torrid affair with a peasant painter. All those hours spent humouring the dull man in your dreary shop, waiting for your next animalistic tussle with your fiery lover. Then one day, you realise the conventions of early 19thC society are going to prevent you from ditching the boring old blood tie, and you will never be free to give yourself to true love. God, the boredom! I mean, you can’t even k You know how it is. Your mother marries you to your sexless cousin and in silent defiance you enter a torrid affair with a peasant painter. All those hours spent humouring the dull man in your dreary shop, waiting for your next animalistic tussle with your fiery lover. Then one day, you realise the conventions of early 19thC society are going to prevent you from ditching the boring old blood tie, and you will never be free to give yourself to true love. God, the boredom! I mean, you can’t even knit properly, can you? That last cardigan was missing an armhole and wasn’t even big enough for my nephew! So what do you have to live for? You are, after all, a docile little mouse brimming with despair and desperation whose only chance at happiness lies in the arms of a bone-idle gadabout who only wanted a quick shag anyway. Perhaps if he bumped off your other half, made it look like an accident? Oh now you’ve gone and done it. Didn’t I warn you watching your husband drown would come back to haunt you? How do you expect to look your mother in the eye ever again, you dozy bint? Well. I suppose it’ll have to be several years of mental torment, depression and unrelenting misery, followed by a teary confession to your paralysed mother, until someone finally pours you a cup of poison and ends your sorry lot once and for all. Hold out, there’s hope. But not in this book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Henry Avila

    This is the kind of book you survive, an obstacle course for masochists , the only people who will truly love it, don't get me wrong a very talented writer in his first important novel shows his skill, but he has a tendency to wallow in misery, giving a reader too many painful scenes. Zola believes, to be taken seriously , he needs to inflict the maximum pain, a simple murder case becomes a protracted story even though a short novel, it seems an eternity...Critics called the book pornographic wh This is the kind of book you survive, an obstacle course for masochists , the only people who will truly love it, don't get me wrong a very talented writer in his first important novel shows his skill, but he has a tendency to wallow in misery, giving a reader too many painful scenes. Zola believes, to be taken seriously , he needs to inflict the maximum pain, a simple murder case becomes a protracted story even though a short novel, it seems an eternity...Critics called the book pornographic when published in 1867, ( mild by today's standards, if there are any) thus becoming a bestseller and making Zola at 27 a famous author. Now to begin; a couple that have known each other from childhood get married, not very unusual, this being the 19th century, still not shocking either because they are cousins. Therese is born in North Africa, her father is a French soldier there, a child from a native woman, no marriage, the mother dies, he a French captain in the army of conquest, brings the baby to his sister Madame Raquin in France, a widow, quickly leaves and goes back to Africa, to fight wars, years pass nothing is heard about the captain until he perishes there. Madame grows to love Therese, treats her like a daughter, a quiet girl that keeps her hate hidden deep inside , she has a sickly son the old woman, Camille does, a small pale figure illness keeps him mostly in bed, which the children share together. Therese feels revulsion toward her ghastly cousin but silent, causing no trouble, the only thing she enjoys is watching the Seine river flow by. Madame sells her little store in the country and to Paris she travels. Soon opens another dingy little shop in a dark alley that connects two important streets. Small shops with trinkets, hats and toys, cheap merchandise sold to poor working class pedestrians going by. Madame persuades Therese to become her son's wife, Therese doesn't abject, she just requires a place to live, the security of a home. Her husband, works as a clerk, brings home his best friend, Laurent, a strong, big man from a peasant family, a fellow clerk at work. Well before long Laurent and Therese begin to notice each other and like what they see ..the woman thinks Laurent is a real man, he would enjoy having a mistress, for a brief time, nothing to lose . A secret affair starts and life would be perfect if Camille wasn't around...permanently. Some calls this a story of "sin, murder and revenge", as two human animals ( Zola's words ) do what comes naturally.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    Smiling! Realising the inappropriate reaction to my second reading of Zola's early duel with murderous passion, I try to look concerned or appalled or just plain disgusted, like his contemporary audience. In his preface, he complains about the critics hating the novel for all the wrong reasons. And now I begin to think I might be loving it for all the wrong reasons instead. Zola claims to have looked at the strong and passionate reaction of two lovers killing an inconvenient husband with the eyes Smiling! Realising the inappropriate reaction to my second reading of Zola's early duel with murderous passion, I try to look concerned or appalled or just plain disgusted, like his contemporary audience. In his preface, he complains about the critics hating the novel for all the wrong reasons. And now I begin to think I might be loving it for all the wrong reasons instead. Zola claims to have looked at the strong and passionate reaction of two lovers killing an inconvenient husband with the eyes of a medical doctor, objectively describing their brutal behaviour and their lack of ethical responses the "way they naturally are, guided purely by their flesh, their corporal desires": "J'ai simplement fait sur deux corps vivants ce que les chirurgiens font sur les cadavres." He bitterly rejects the critics who denounce the characters' depravation without understanding why the author chose to show them like that. All very well. I was prepared for a naturalistic analysis of murderers and their sexual motives, and a dull description of a non-existent conscience. But just like I wasn't prepared for the wildness of Wuthering Heights when I reread it recently, I wasn't expecting the ghost story that Zola tries to sell as a serious case study either. Laurent, the lover of Thérèse, kills her husband Camille in order to enjoy the convenience of a legal sex life and a comfortable financial status. While pushing the resisting friend into a river from a boat, he receives a bite on his neck, which remains as a scar and a "bite of conscience" - "ein Gewissensbiss" it is quite literally in German. Instead of living happily ever after the perfect crime, the lovers turned spouses spiral into grotesque madness and evil, suffering through their lives with the image of the victim, before engaging in a final danse macabre in front of the murdered Camille's paralysed mother. In death, they unite with Camille through the touch of the scar. All very Gothic, all very dramatic, all very symbolic. All very realistic? Nah! Despite himself, Zola created an almost religious morality tale of crime and punishment. He took away god from the equation, and put the human body in its place, but the result is the same: the impossibility to shake off sin and to live calmly with a "bad" conscience, be it located in body or soul. In a way, his draconian writer ego is harsher than most deities, and he strikes his characters where it hurts most: he makes them impotent and incapable of pleasure. So Zola, my dear friend, I apologise for liking your story for the wrong reasons, and for smiling at your defence of naturalism in this tragedy in several acts, leaving all protagonists dead by murder or suicide in the final showdown on stage. Recommended - probably for the wrong reasons!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Edward

    Introduction, by Adam Thorpe A Note on the Translation Acknowledgments --Thérèse Raquin Notes

  6. 4 out of 5

    Paquita Maria Sanchez

    Somewhere within the spectrum occupied by anything from Romeo and Juliet to Tromeo and Juliet, there is a well-trodden path full of whispers, whimpers and piercing screams about the miseries of the love process. Whether you are tragically in love with your enemy's hottie boomdottie tween daughter or banging your best friend's girlfriend in an alleyway behind a bar all 2-minute-meal-style, Jonathan Richman had it almost exactly right when he explained to his (soon to be) adoring fans that "true l Somewhere within the spectrum occupied by anything from Romeo and Juliet to Tromeo and Juliet, there is a well-trodden path full of whispers, whimpers and piercing screams about the miseries of the love process. Whether you are tragically in love with your enemy's hottie boomdottie tween daughter or banging your best friend's girlfriend in an alleyway behind a bar all 2-minute-meal-style, Jonathan Richman had it almost exactly right when he explained to his (soon to be) adoring fans that "true love is not nice." As an afterthought to Johnny Boy's sage words, I would like to extend that lyric to include the concept of "true lust." Because there is (sadly, more often that not, though not ideally) a difference. "True Lust" in the sense that I am speaking of is an extension of infatuation, a sudden amorous obsession for another person fueled by the fact that your feelings for this individual (and the ensuing gropings and fornication-sessions) are wrong, dirty, hedonistic, secret, crass, selfish, and therefore exciting. People become bogged down by their lives, relationships go stale, the same old somebody starts to feel like a fly to shoo away, and you start cocking your head sideways in search of something (someone) new to serve as a sort of febreeze bottle for your life, your sense of self-satisfaction, and your general feelings of self-worth. Someone to fill the hole in your heart that really needs to be addressed by serious inner-dialogue rather than things like serial monogamy, cheating, hoeing around and the like. Unfortunately, we self-obsessed, naive, give-it-to-me-now modern folks tend to take the "easy" way out, and so we spread our legs and pray for a miracle, regardless of who and what we may leave in the dust behind us. We direct our own issues toward another individual, projecting our pain onto them as if they are going to absorb it like a sponge, ring it out, and make it all wash away 1, 2, 3. With the exception of a few well-known cases of controversial love gone right (June and Johnny, John and Yoko, etc), what generally happens despite our best efforts to combat it is the wind eventually shifts and the dirt flies back in our faces anyway...and usually with increased density. Oftentimes, the real killer is the guilt. Trust me when I say that sowing romance in the soil of controversy is like watering your seeds with lava. Well, this is a story about all that, however it is presented through a drastically heightened plot-line. You know, the old "I don't want to give up the money but I want to keep having sex with you all the time and my husband is really just in proper cock-blocking form about the whole thing, so obviously our only option is to kill him" prickly pickly conundrum. Before you get angry at me for spoiling the story, however, keep in mind that this is only the beginning of what transpires. Rather than wasting precious page-space on the elaborate thought-process leading up to this cold-blooded murder, Zola chose to focus his examination more closely on the aftershock of such a decision. The guilt...the way it kills passion, the way it eats you up inside and makes you detest whatever is associated with that acid-feeling in your stomach. You know, like that lover that was so important and true-lovey before. Through a series of brutal exchanges between the two main characters, Zola dissects the rationalizations we use to make shitty decisions which treat people like shit and turn us into shit, leaving us feeling all shitty in the end. Zola's perceptions about both the way we mask our true intentions and the way we rid ourselves of guilt are right on point. He knew. He has played this game before. Everyone has done wrong by someone else for the sake of their own immediate gain. And sometimes, that wrong-doing involves strangling and drowning someone. It will, however, come back to haunt you in the end. I will stop here, as this is about all that I can reveal without spoiling the story. Just know that there is some Raskolnikov-esque guilt-fueled lashing, but rather than directing it at themselves, the two lovebirds turn it on one another. And it gets...ugly. Butchya know...true lust is not nice, after all. Unless it is between two consenting adults who have, you know, actual love and respect mixed in there, as well. In which case by all means lust it up, kids. Get nasty astral.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Chrissie

    Usually when I review a book I try to allot the stars not by the audiobook's narration but by the author's words and content. With this book I am awarding four stars but it is partially due to Kate Winslet's fantastic narration. She is as you must know a famous actress. I strongly believe I would never have been able to imagine the words with the terror and emotion evoked through her reading. She does a fantastic job. In addition, I would have been furious if at every mention of Camille's name i Usually when I review a book I try to allot the stars not by the audiobook's narration but by the author's words and content. With this book I am awarding four stars but it is partially due to Kate Winslet's fantastic narration. She is as you must know a famous actress. I strongly believe I would never have been able to imagine the words with the terror and emotion evoked through her reading. She does a fantastic job. In addition, I would have been furious if at every mention of Camille's name it had been improperly pronounced. All the French streets and terms are spot-on; this is an important part of drawing the downtrodden life in the poorer, less affluent areas of Paris where the story unfolds in the latter 1800s. You are told in the book description that Laurent and Thérèse kill Camille, Thérèse's husband and cousin. It is what happens afterwards that constitutes the true story. This is a psychological drama, not a murder mystery. It is suspenseful, creepy and horrifying. Are you listening? It is horrifying!! At least when it is read by Kate Winslet. She notches up the suspense, the creepiness and the horror until you are sitting on the very edge of your seat. I haven't read a horror book in years; this has given me a good dose, enough to last for at least the next ten years. In the book description we are also told that Zola "... dispassionately dissects the motivations of his characters - mere 'human beasts', who kill in order to satisfy their lust..." I disagree; there is nothing dispassionate about this book. It is all about emotions and passions, and please note the end of that sentence I quoted. It speaks of humans behaving as beasts, filled with lust. Now that gives the proper feeling of the book. So read this book if you want a moving study of human emotions, of fear and guilt and what propels some of us to behave feverishly and crazily. Being a horror story, I at the same time find it a bit exaggerated. Not everybody behaves like this, but you get so pulled into the tension that you feel the agony of their guilt. And what about punishment? That is another question delved into. What is the worst punishment - that we allot ourselves or that forced upon us by others? Violence and abuse, which is harsher, the physical or the psychological? I have read this is also a study of people with different temperaments. This didn't work for me. Thérèse’s aunt, Camille’s mother, is drawn as a sweet loving mother, but I see her as calculating! Laurent's temperament is clear. He is, at first at least, careful and prudent. He is calculating and egotistical, avaricious, just plain wicked. Thérèse, she is drawn as a passionate figure, and yet at the same time devious and secretive. Putting together those two characteristics does not work for me. Usually emotional, passionate people simply cannot hide what they are thinking or feeling. Perhaps under the stress of her evil deed she searches everywhere for absolution and escape. You have to read the story to see where it ends. I do recommend it, but listen to the audiobook version narrated by Kate Winslet.

  8. 5 out of 5

    karen

    and here i thought thomas hardy was cruel to his characters... this book doesnt take long to turn into slow torture for crimes committed, and it gets darker and more dramatic until it reaches the heights of opera-vengeance. its very tempting as a modern reader to question the characters motivations (why not just leave?? really?? just... leave.)but it was high time i read a zola, and i can continue my summer of "missed classics" with confidence.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Candi

    "The Arcade of the Pont Neuf is not a place for a stroll. You take it to make a short cut, to gain a few minutes. It is traversed by busy people whose sole aim is to go quick and straight before them… The arcade now assumes the aspect of a regular cut-throat alley. Great shadows stretch along the tiles, damp puffs of air enter from the street. Anyone might take the place for a subterranean gallery indistinctly lit-up by three funeral lamps. This nineteenth century French novel has a deliciously d "The Arcade of the Pont Neuf is not a place for a stroll. You take it to make a short cut, to gain a few minutes. It is traversed by busy people whose sole aim is to go quick and straight before them… The arcade now assumes the aspect of a regular cut-throat alley. Great shadows stretch along the tiles, damp puffs of air enter from the street. Anyone might take the place for a subterranean gallery indistinctly lit-up by three funeral lamps. This nineteenth century French novel has a deliciously dark atmosphere from page one. The Arcade of the Pont Neuf is home to a mercer shop that will take you into the depths of a psychological drama that might give you chills if you were to read this alone on a bleak and stormy night. Emphasizing the animal side of human nature, Emile Zola created two depraved characters in Laurent and Therese – ones that we should all hope to avoid a glimpse of within ourselves! How do emotions drive one to commit an act of evil? What are the consequences of these actions? If we repent, will we be absolved of our sins? If repentance is not something the bestial self is capable of seeking, then what becomes of us? This book had some gruesome images that may make some flinch and others may find worthy of a great horror novel. I personally cringed and at the same time was fascinated by a most revolting description of a Parisian morgue. I was shocked to learn that it was in fact a favorite pastime for the people of Paris to visit the morgue and ogle the unfortunate inhabitants of this notorious attraction! "The morgue is a sight within reach of everybody, and one to which passers-by, rich and poor alike, treat themselves. The door stands open, and all are free to enter. There are admirers of the scene who go out of their way so as not to miss one of these performances of death." I found this book to be quite riveting overall. There were times when it felt a bit repetitive and dragged slightly, but then it would shift and I would once more become submerged in the misery, depravity and psychological suspense. I would recommend this to those that enjoy classics and intense psychological studies. It is actually a very readable classic, so shouldn't necessarily exclude those that don't dip into the classics on a regular basis. 3.5 stars.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Fiona

    I read this book with morbid fascination, following with horror the deterioration of the sanity of the two main characters, Therese and Laurent. It's not a pleasant book to read. Quite the opposite. Zola wrote this book for men, not women. He didn't intend it to be regarded as a novel - which he considered to be for women, not men - but as an objective study of human behaviour which he likened to that of 'beasts'. Knowing this, it's easy to read it as if we are watching two laboratory rats rathe I read this book with morbid fascination, following with horror the deterioration of the sanity of the two main characters, Therese and Laurent. It's not a pleasant book to read. Quite the opposite. Zola wrote this book for men, not women. He didn't intend it to be regarded as a novel - which he considered to be for women, not men - but as an objective study of human behaviour which he likened to that of 'beasts'. Knowing this, it's easy to read it as if we are watching two laboratory rats rather than human beings. It would be unkind to rats to compare them with this horrific, debased and senselessly cruel pair, however. This isn't Zola's finest hour but it is worth reading for the experience.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jane

    This book is alive. From the first to the last I saw the story came to life and I was drawn so completely in. It made my heart beat a little faster, and even now I have put the book down, slept and lived through another day, it is still in my head and my heart. On one hand the story is utterly modern: and it is timeless. It would be so easy to reset in in any period since it was published, and equally easy to take it back through the centuries. Because this is a story of humanity. Of what people This book is alive. From the first to the last I saw the story came to life and I was drawn so completely in. It made my heart beat a little faster, and even now I have put the book down, slept and lived through another day, it is still in my head and my heart. On one hand the story is utterly modern: and it is timeless. It would be so easy to reset in in any period since it was published, and equally easy to take it back through the centuries. Because this is a story of humanity. Of what people may do to get what they want, and of how they may be destroyed if they reach too far, if they cross certain lines. A story of emptiness, passion, horror, despair, guilt, revenge … Thérèse was the daughter of a French sailor and a native woman. Her father took his sister, a haberdasher, to raise with her son. Camille, a bright but sickly child. It was expected that Thérèse and Camille would marry, and marry they did. Not because either one had feelings for the another, but because it didn’t occur to either of them to do anything else, or that life could offer anything more than they already knew. Zola painted a picture of dark and dull lives, and yet he held me. Somehow, I don’t know how, he planted the idea that something would happen, that it was imperative that I continued to turn the pages. When Camille tried to pull away from his protective mother life changed. Thérèse met Laurent, a friend of her husband who was everything that her husband was not. A passionate, obsessive relationship grew between them. Their feelings were tangible. They feared discovery. They knew what they wanted, and they were oblivious to anything else. And so they acted. That act is stunning. Shocking. A flash of light in a dark story, and it is executed quite brilliantly. It may sound like an end, but it came early in the story. The knowledge of what they had done, the consequences of what they had done, were corrosive. For Thérèse. For Laurent. And for their relationship. For a while it isn’t clear where the story will go. The pair seem trapped, in lives overtaken by guilt, horror and despair. But then something snaps. A downward spiral leads to a devastating conclusion. Zola handles all of this magnificently. The bleak street, the house, where Thérèse and her family lived and worked was described so vividly, the atmosphere was so claustrophic, it was utterly real. And he deployed his cast – four principals, four supporting players, and a cat – so cleverly. Each was essential. Each had more than one role to play. Their story has broad strokes, and it has small details too, and they all work together beautifully. The story is desperately dark, but it is honest and never gratuitous. And the story is paramount; everything else is there to support the story, and it is woven in so well that it is never a distraction. You could stop to observe if you chose, or you could be quite naturally swept along by events. It’s greatest strength is its creator’s understanding of humanity. That allowed him to bring flawed, fallible, utterly real human beings to life on the page. To lay bare their hearts and souls. And to make the evolution of their lives, the extraordinary things that happen, completely understandable. And so it was that the skill of the author, and the understanding of the author, make this book compelling, horrific, and desperately sad.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Steven Godin

    This short novel (the weakest of the four Zola's I have read so far) is a tale of lust, madness and destruction set within the brooding, dingy backstreets of Paris. Not the back streets I know and love of today!. The eponymous protagonist, a repressed and silently resentful young woman is married off, as per normal, according to her aunt's wishes to her sickly cousin Camille. When Thérèse meets Camille's robust and earthy friend Laurent, a turbulent passion is unleashed that drives them ultimate This short novel (the weakest of the four Zola's I have read so far) is a tale of lust, madness and destruction set within the brooding, dingy backstreets of Paris. Not the back streets I know and love of today!. The eponymous protagonist, a repressed and silently resentful young woman is married off, as per normal, according to her aunt's wishes to her sickly cousin Camille. When Thérèse meets Camille's robust and earthy friend Laurent, a turbulent passion is unleashed that drives them ultimately to violence and murder. Considering this is a 19th century novel, it really packs a punch, and does shock. Nothing like the period drama style novels of his countless counterparts. The characters are excellently done, but not exactly likeable, and the whole atmosphere is conceived really well. Zola's great story-telling qualities put him above most French writers of the time, but, at best, I found Thérèse Raquin an effective melodrama. This is not the Zola of Germinal or La Bete Humain, those novels I found were a class above this by some considerable distance. But had this been my first Zola then it probably would have made more of an impression on me. I still can't believe just how many novels he actually wrote. Not likely to run out Zola reads for many a year to come. This was a solid novel, it's just the others I have read were that good.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Perry

    I Love Nature & Natural, but No More Novels of Naturalism In my voracity for reading most of the so-called classic novels, I read this short one without knowing much about it, nor did I read (until later) the preface in which Zola says this is a study of temperaments and not characters, the basis of which is the now-discounted Galen's Four Temperaments. Apparently, this is a novel characterized as "naturalism," due to its scientific or detached narrative. The four temperaments are represented I Love Nature & Natural, but No More Novels of Naturalism In my voracity for reading most of the so-called classic novels, I read this short one without knowing much about it, nor did I read (until later) the preface in which Zola says this is a study of temperaments and not characters, the basis of which is the now-discounted Galen's Four Temperaments. Apparently, this is a novel characterized as "naturalism," due to its scientific or detached narrative. The four temperaments are represented by Therese Raquin, an unhappily married young woman (melancholic), Madame Raquin, her overbearing and selfish aunt (choleric), Camille Raquin, her sickly, self-centered husband, who is also her 1st cousin (phlegmatic) all of whom all live together, and Laurent, interloping friend of the husband (sanguine). You might guess what happens. If so, great. If not, I don't wanna spoil all your insidious fun. Love Nature, All for the Naturals; No, Please, No More Naturalism.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Mary Crabtree

    Very scary, very dark and definitely wonderful. Could not put this down. I learned about evil in this book.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Nicola

    Superb. Reading Zola surely sets the bar - I'd say he is the French Hardy but although they are both masters of their art and certainly like to dwell in the downer side of town, Zola deals with the city and the impact of the immediate environment and people on the psyche of the individual which isn't really an area that Hardy greatly concentrates on. Of course I've yet to read a lot of Zola so I could be wrong but going on the fact that he seems to be acknowledged as the trailblazer of the Human Superb. Reading Zola surely sets the bar - I'd say he is the French Hardy but although they are both masters of their art and certainly like to dwell in the downer side of town, Zola deals with the city and the impact of the immediate environment and people on the psyche of the individual which isn't really an area that Hardy greatly concentrates on. Of course I've yet to read a lot of Zola so I could be wrong but going on the fact that he seems to be acknowledged as the trailblazer of the Human Naturalist's then it's probably a safe assumption to make even so early on in my reading of his books. Right from the outset Zola sets his stage: 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. This arcade, at the most, is thirty paces long by two in breadth. It is paved with worn, loose, yellowish tiles which are never free from acrid damp. The square panes of glass forming the roof, are black with filth. It's this dirty little patch of Paris where even as readers we feel choked and claustrophobic, where lives are played out. The main character, Therese, is unable to free herself from the chains which bind her to her aunt and her cousin and takes a lover in the dishonest 'friend' of her husband as a form of emotional expression more than anything else. This is a dark novel but it's also eminently readable. Everyone in our book group liked it and found it difficult to put down (some read it all in one go!). For anybody wanting a taste of Zola but who feels a little intimidated by the Les Rougon-Macquart series, this is a great place to start.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Khashayar Mohammadi

    Thérèse Raquin is Dostoyevsky's re-imagination of Macbeth, channeled through Émile Zola. Its a claustrophobic tale of murder and adultery that sets the scene for many modern French Romance novels to come. Taking the simplicity of the plot into consideration, I was pleasantly surprised by how engrossing the narrative was.

  17. 5 out of 5

    P-eggy

    The shortest and most readable books from the 20-vol Rougon-Macquart cycle but perhaps not the best one to start with. 'Germinal' more gives the full heavy, 19th C saga-with-issues flavour of Zola.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Therese Raquin is not a very good novel. It does, however, have some very interesting parts. If you are a fan of noir fiction, you will easily pick up on some classic elements of the genre: two loser-lovers, a weak and whiney husband, a cast of additional characters that you also don’t like, and an increasingly oppressive atmosphere that blinks No Exit. For the first half of the book, all these elements mix nicely (or nastily). Therese Raquin, who is part north African, is, as a child, abandone Therese Raquin is not a very good novel. It does, however, have some very interesting parts. If you are a fan of noir fiction, you will easily pick up on some classic elements of the genre: two loser-lovers, a weak and whiney husband, a cast of additional characters that you also don’t like, and an increasingly oppressive atmosphere that blinks No Exit. For the first half of the book, all these elements mix nicely (or nastily). Therese Raquin, who is part north African, is, as a child, abandoned by her soldier father to live with her aunt and sickly cousin, Camille, with whom she shares a bed. The father dies, and all we know of her mother is that she was a “great beauty,” who is also dead. Therese herself is described as thin-lipped and sharp featured. Sometimes she’s pretty, and other times she’s ugly. It’s a mood thing, I suppose, but for good reason, since her existence is a kind of death-in-life experience. Camille, who she more or less is forced to marry, is an idiot, and her aunt is an old fuddy duddy who moves the family from a nice country setting, to a dingy Paris alley, where she opens a haberdashery. In the first pages of the book, there’s a telling scene that has Therese staring out her window at a black wall. Paint it Black! As the family settles into its routine, a weekly ritual of dominos with friends becomes part of the mix. Enter Laurent, a friend of Camille’s from work. He’s a big lazy oaf from the country, who thinks of himself as an artist. Stuff happens, and before long Therese and Camille are going at it like nobody’s business. It’s hard not to recall, for example, The Postman Always Rings Twice: She stopped, gasping as though proud and avenged, holding Laurent, drunk with passion, on her breast. And in this bare and chilly room there were enacted scenes of burning lust, sinister in their brutality. Each fresh meeting brought still more frenzied ecstasies. Eventually Laurent’s long afternoons are noticed at work, and he’s forced to end his daily visits. Soon, in a vague sort of way, the lovers sense that Camille needs to go. At this point in the novel, the killing chapter (Chapter 11), that strikes me as crime writing at its finest. There’s a bizarre Edenic setting by the river, which has Laurent, Mister King Snake, kissing Therese’s foot, while Camille snoozes. Later, they all go out in a boat and, well, do the murder math. This scene had me recalling Dreiser’s American Tragedy, and could, I believe, stand alone as a short story. Unfortunately, that’s the high point of the novel. There is a fascinatingly morbid trip to the morgue (Chapter 13) that goes well beyond the “science” of Zola’s claim that he was staking out Realism – for Art’s sake. Bullshit. It’s Sensationalism 101: bodies, slabs, dripping water, and eventually the rotting Camille. After that, the wheels fly off the novel is a spectacular way. Immediately the lovers start feeling all paranoid, and wondering if they will be found out. This gets silly fast, as both Laurent and Therese find themselves jumping at shadows, as well as seeing and hearing things. Poe did this much better with the “Tell-Tale Heart.” Is it possible for two people to hallucinate the same specter? Camille calmly lay down between them, whilst Laurent wept over his impotence and Therese trembled lest the corpse might have the idea of using its victory to take her into its putrefied arms as her lawful master. This is not a supernatural novel, and yet this, and similar scenes, go on for pages and pages. The repetition is simply jaw-dropping. I almost gave up, but it’s a short book, and after a while I admit I kind of got into Zola’s demented excesses. The ending is for the most part predictable, maybe even more coldly comforting than these two deserve. Zola offers up the epitaph about 50 pages before the end: Nothing existed but murder and lust. Yep, that’s about it.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    Zola's preface to the second edition of this novel, which is included in the audiobook version I listened to, confirms that the work caused quite a sensation when it was first published in 1867. In the preface, Zola defends himself against charges of obscenity and states that the novel is in effect a detached and scientific study of the effect of temperament. While I'm not sure just how scientific and detached Zola really was, he was certainly scientific and detached enough for the novel to be r Zola's preface to the second edition of this novel, which is included in the audiobook version I listened to, confirms that the work caused quite a sensation when it was first published in 1867. In the preface, Zola defends himself against charges of obscenity and states that the novel is in effect a detached and scientific study of the effect of temperament. While I'm not sure just how scientific and detached Zola really was, he was certainly scientific and detached enough for the novel to be regarded as an early example of naturalism. It's a great read, but only if you're interested both in psychology and in reading about deeply unpleasant people making very poor life choices. It features an unhappy marriage, adultery, murder, guilt and paranoia: all the fun stuff. But the prose is wonderful, the atmosphere Zola creates is dark and claustrophobic and the ending is full of suspense. I listened to a French language audiobook, available for free from this website. There's another free French language audiobook out there (this one). Avoid it at all costs. I listened to the first chapter and the narrator is simply awful.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    Therese Raquin is Madame Bovary on steroids. The young Zola was impressed by Bovary, and its influence is clear throughout Raquin - but he ratchets every aspect of the story up, for better and...well, mostly for worse; this isn't as good as Bovary. Mainly that's because Zola is no match at all for Flaubert psychologically. Bovary is as trenchant a view inside the human brain as I've read outside Tolstoy; laser-focused and brilliant. Zola, by contrast, is muddling about with some almost Medieval n Therese Raquin is Madame Bovary on steroids. The young Zola was impressed by Bovary, and its influence is clear throughout Raquin - but he ratchets every aspect of the story up, for better and...well, mostly for worse; this isn't as good as Bovary. Mainly that's because Zola is no match at all for Flaubert psychologically. Bovary is as trenchant a view inside the human brain as I've read outside Tolstoy; laser-focused and brilliant. Zola, by contrast, is muddling about with some almost Medieval notions of sanguine (that means optimistic) vs. nervous temperaments. It's all a mess, and unfortunately Zola hammers the shit out of it, and it all feels sophomoric. On the other hand, once you get past the psychological mumbo-jumbo, it's a fiercely intense book - straining at its sleeves with dread and tension. You thought Bovary had some unlikable characters? You ain't seen nothin'. Raquin's two leads are despicable, irredeemable cesspools of humanity. Zola is a visual writer. Manet's Olympia, above, isn't crucial to the story, but my footnotes pointed it out several times and I was glad I went and found it, so as a public service, here it is. Note the cat on the right. More importantly, he describes the alleys of mid-19th century Paris in wonderful sludgy detail, particularly the oozing Seine. Raquin is shockingly gruesome, especially for its time but even now. Edgar Allen Poe sought consciously to shock his audience, because he thought it would bring him attention: "But whether [the horrific shit] of which I speak are, or are not in bad taste is little to the purpose. To be appreciated you must be read, and these things are invariably sought after with avidity." (Edgar Allan Poe to Thomas W. White — April 30, 1835) The same strategy is at play here. (And it's clear from a shoutout to Poe's obsession with being buried alive that Zola's aware of this lesson.) In the last half of the book, the horror ratchets up to a Grand Guignol level: (view spoiler)[Therese invites a beating to her stomach in order to miscarry; a cat is murdered; and most of all, there's the awful spectacle of Mme. Raquin, paralyzed (Noirtier-style!) and forced to watch her two surrogate children confess savagely to her biological son's murder night after night. (hide spoiler)] I know some perfectly smart readers who just choose not to handle books about terrible people. Those friends of mine don't like Madame Bovary. (Or Wuthering Heights, for another example.) If you're one of those people, holy shit, do not read this book. But if you like the shadows...here are the things that ooze in them.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Gearóid

    I have never read a book do unrelenting dark and foreboding. The prose is just brilliant in this book. There are some really bone chilling moments in this book easily as chilling as Edgar Allen Poe's writing. Eventhough this was grim and dark to the very last page I found if very difficult to put down. So this is French literature.... I have to say the writing was astounding and I will read more Zola and explore more French literature. Definitely one of the great writers and glad to have decided t I have never read a book do unrelenting dark and foreboding. The prose is just brilliant in this book. There are some really bone chilling moments in this book easily as chilling as Edgar Allen Poe's writing. Eventhough this was grim and dark to the very last page I found if very difficult to put down. So this is French literature.... I have to say the writing was astounding and I will read more Zola and explore more French literature. Definitely one of the great writers and glad to have decided to read his work after learning that James Joyce admired his work. In a nutshell...... Great!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kristen Richeal

    Wow was that depressing! The first half reminded me of Poe's The Tell Tale Heart, the second half was akin to a Shakespearean tragedy.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Capsguy

    Zola Zola Zola. Will we ever go through a novel of yours without someone being murdered, attempted to be murdered, or at least plotted to be? No, I am not complaining, it does not feel repetitive at all, at least not in a negative way. What we see here is typical gritty and savage prose by Zola. Two lovers find themselves in a sticky situation. Forbidden love with a married lady, spouse to your own friend. You can easily see how this sets it up for a great psychological suspense novel with an incr Zola Zola Zola. Will we ever go through a novel of yours without someone being murdered, attempted to be murdered, or at least plotted to be? No, I am not complaining, it does not feel repetitive at all, at least not in a negative way. What we see here is typical gritty and savage prose by Zola. Two lovers find themselves in a sticky situation. Forbidden love with a married lady, spouse to your own friend. You can easily see how this sets it up for a great psychological suspense novel with an increasingly escalating calamity. I won't spoil anything, but I appreciated Zola's approach that even if you are not physically incarcerated/imprisoned by your actions; your own conscious which sparks on guilt and fear will create your own prison, one in which you can never escape from until you are either caught or confess. A comparison to this is when I was in Japan I saw on the news a man that had been a fugitive for over a decade for his participation in the Tokyo subway gas incident eventually went from Osaka to Tokyo to hand himself in to authorities. Some may say that the harsh life of living in the streets was the cause, but I know people who work in the prison system in Japan; friends who have been imprisoned there themselves and it's probably worse than being homeless. Just a thought I believed kind of related to the book.

  24. 5 out of 5

    BAM The Bibliomaniac

    Quick quip: Zola has an amazing hand at alliteration. Regardless of subject matter, I'm soothed by his word choices Alas, I lack the words to fully describe my feelings about this amazing novel. My brain is congested. Please, if you are a fan of the classics, read this

  25. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    This 19th century novel of murder and passion seemed promising at first. Zola creates a dark, detailed world that becomes nightmarish. But it devolves into a monotonous, melodramatic morality tale that I was glad to finish. I'm glad I finally read Zola though. Check.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    This was my first e-book -- the dealer gave me an iPad when I leased my car, and since I was heading out of town I decided to try it out by downloading this "book," which was free. I think I would've read it a lot quicker if it had been a real book, but who wants to deal with some weird apple-y screen that highlights and flips pages around when you touch it? Yuck! Anyway, whatever. I prefer my books in book form, but in either format, this book was awesome! If you're a fan of James M. Cain et al. This was my first e-book -- the dealer gave me an iPad when I leased my car, and since I was heading out of town I decided to try it out by downloading this "book," which was free. I think I would've read it a lot quicker if it had been a real book, but who wants to deal with some weird apple-y screen that highlights and flips pages around when you touch it? Yuck! Anyway, whatever. I prefer my books in book form, but in either format, this book was awesome! If you're a fan of James M. Cain et al., it may thrill you to learn that they weren't doing much that hadn't already been done in 1860s France. This was my first Zola, and I have no idea what I expected but this wasn't it. I love old-school hardboiled crime fiction and film noir more than most other things, but somehow it had escaped me that there was a much older-school, pre-film version of that stuff, in which a dark, seedy Parisian arcade and its desperate denizens out-urban-anomied many of the next century's finest offerings. All the stuff I love in those novels and films (not to mention comics) is here: aforementioned bleak atmospheric setting, lustful lovers inspired to kill, the insanity of remorse and growing trapped hatred that follows... My favorite part of the book was the beginning; it did get pretty repetitive later on, and a bit draggingly moralistic, but even then it was a grand old time and enjoyable from beginning to end. This is one of the pulpiest, most gratuitously violent and disturbing and sordid books I've read in awhile, but because it's old you get to look fancy while you read it -- unless you've got it on an iPad, in which case inquisitive members of the public will not be able to admire your high falutin' nineteenth-century French literature tastes... Personally, I'd recommend the paper version, available right now on Abe for around three bucks, if you're a crusty old Luddite type and/or you'd like to show off.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    The original French text is available at Project Gutenberg. Free download available at [email protected] And the audio version in English is available at LivriVox. And the BBC Radio 4 - Classical Serial dramatization is available here. And the audio version in French at Literature audio.com. This is the story of a love triangle between Thérèse Raquin, her cousin and husband Camille and Laurent, one of Camille's friends. In his preface, Zola explains that his goal in this novel was to "study temperament The original French text is available at Project Gutenberg. Free download available at [email protected] And the audio version in English is available at LivriVox. And the BBC Radio 4 - Classical Serial dramatization is available here. And the audio version in French at Literature audio.com. This is the story of a love triangle between Thérèse Raquin, her cousin and husband Camille and Laurent, one of Camille's friends. In his preface, Zola explains that his goal in this novel was to "study temperaments and not characters". This book is considered an example of Naturalism. It is a novel (first published in 1867) and a play (first performed in 1873) which was originally published in serial format in the journal L'Artiste and in book format in December of the same year. There are some movie's version based on this book: Thou Shalt Not (1928); The Adultress (1953) with Simone Signoret, Raf Vallone, Jacques Duby. It was screened at the 14th Venice International Film Festival where it won the Silver Lion.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Duane

    It seems Therese Raquin is a Naturalist novel, which is a catagory of Realism. What does all of that mean? Really, I don't have a clue. My guess is because it's about common, everyday, run-of-the-mill folks, living their boring, mundane lives in their boring, mundane city (Paris), and not being on their best behavior; acting more like animals than human beings. I can't fault Therese much for what she did, up until she and her lover Laurent killed her husband Camille. She was raised by her aunt, It seems Therese Raquin is a Naturalist novel, which is a catagory of Realism. What does all of that mean? Really, I don't have a clue. My guess is because it's about common, everyday, run-of-the-mill folks, living their boring, mundane lives in their boring, mundane city (Paris), and not being on their best behavior; acting more like animals than human beings. I can't fault Therese much for what she did, up until she and her lover Laurent killed her husband Camille. She was raised by her aunt, living with her and her sickly son Camille, Therese's 1st cousin. Her aunt had them marry when they came of age and Therese quickly grew tired of her loveless marriage to her lifeless husband. When Camille's friend Laurent started coming around, it didn't take long for their passionate love affair to start. They decide to murder Camille so they can openly and freely enjoy their love making, maybe even marry. What they didn't count on was the overwhelming guilt they would feel, to the point of imagining Camille's rotting body lying between them in bed. That's Zola for you, he doesn't spare the rod when it comes to his characters. On a side note, I just discovered that a new production of Therese Raquin will open on Broadway in the fall of 2015, and Keira Knightly will play the lead role, her first on Broadway.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Suki St Charles

    This was a very dark little gothic novel. It is not an easy story to describe-- it is not a ghost story, but there is a haunting. It is definitely not a vampire story, but one of the movie adaptations did include a vampire movie (Thirst, directed by Park Chan-wook; South Korea, 2009-- an excellent movie, by the way!). There are many classic horror tropes: deep shadows where no light penetrates, walls that ooze damp, feelings of vague terrors and inexpressable dread, but it is not a horror story. This was a very dark little gothic novel. It is not an easy story to describe-- it is not a ghost story, but there is a haunting. It is definitely not a vampire story, but one of the movie adaptations did include a vampire movie (Thirst, directed by Park Chan-wook; South Korea, 2009-- an excellent movie, by the way!). There are many classic horror tropes: deep shadows where no light penetrates, walls that ooze damp, feelings of vague terrors and inexpressable dread, but it is not a horror story. Zola referred to the story as "a psychological study"; it is definitely that. Although it was written in 1867, I did not think it had the same kind of dated feel that many classics have. I enjoyed it very much: it was not at all what I had expected.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Shauna

    "Sometimes people die," she murmured at last. "Only it is dangerous for those who survive." First of all, a slow clap for Kate Winslet's reading of Émile Zola's Thérèse Raquin. I can't recommend her rendition highly enough. A loveless marriage, a turbulent affair, a crime that will haunt them forever. In this novel we follow the story of Thérèse, her lover Laurent's and their descent into madness following their murder of her husband. Fair warning, there will be scenes of murder, physical abuse an "Sometimes people die," she murmured at last. "Only it is dangerous for those who survive." First of all, a slow clap for Kate Winslet's reading of Émile Zola's Thérèse Raquin. I can't recommend her rendition highly enough. A loveless marriage, a turbulent affair, a crime that will haunt them forever. In this novel we follow the story of Thérèse, her lover Laurent's and their descent into madness following their murder of her husband. Fair warning, there will be scenes of murder, physical abuse and slow psychological torture, ending in…something highly dramatic that I won't spoil. Thérèse Raquin is a brutal account of what happens when you throw a cast of deeply selfish egotists with conflicting temperaments together and see how it plays out. _____________________________________ As a sort of book extra, apparently Interior: The Rape by Degas is believed by some to depict a scene from Thérèse Raquin: Laurent carefully closed the door behind him and remained there a moment, leaning against it, staring into the room with an anxious, confused expression. A bright fire was burning in the grate, casting golden patches that danced over the ceiling and the walls. The room was thus illuminated by a brilliant, vacillating glow which dimmed the lamp set on a table. Madame Raquin had tried to arrange the room attractively, all white and scented, as though to serve as a nest for young lovers; the old shopkeeper had chosen to add to the bed a few bits of lace and to fill the vases on the mantel with big bouquets of roses. A gentle warmth lingered in the air, with soft odors. ... Thérèse was sitting in a low chair, to the right of the fireplace. Chin in hand, she was staring fixedly at the dancing flames, and did not turn her head when Laurent entered the room. Wearing a lace-edged petticoat and bed-jacket, she looked particularly pale in the bright firelight. Her jacket had slipped from one shoulder which showed pink through the locks of her black hair. Laurent took a few steps, not speaking. He removed his jacket and vest. In shirtsleeves, he glanced again at Thérèse, who had not stirred. He seemed to hesitate. Then he noticed the pink shoulder, and bent down to press his trembling lips against that bit of bare skin. The young woman pulled her shoulder away, turning around abruptly. She stared at Laurent with a gaze so strangely mingling repugnance and dread that he stepped back, troubled and uneasy, as if overcome with terror and disgust himself.

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