Therese Raquin

Therese Raquin

Book - 1980
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Therese Raquin is a clinically observed, sinister tale of adultery and murder among the lower orders in nineteenth-century Paris. Zola's dispassionate dissection of the motivations of his characters, mere `human beasts' who kill in order to satisfy their lust, is much more than an atmosphericSecond Empire period-piece. Many readers were scandalized by an approach to character-drawing which seemed to undermine not only the moral values of a deeply conservative society, but also the whole code of psychological description on which the realist novel was based. Together with the important `Preface to the Second Edition' in which Zola defended himself against charges of immorality, Therese Raquin stands as a key early manifesto of the French Naturalist movement, of which Zola was the founding father. Even today, this novel has lost none of its power toshock. This new translation is based on the second edition of 1868. The Introduction situates the novel in the context of Naturalism, medicine, and the scientific ideas of Zola's day.
Publisher: New York : Penguin Books, 1980, c1962
ISBN: 9780199536856
Call Number: F
Characteristics: 255 p


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May 12, 2015

I feel strangely surprised that I liked this book; maybe I’m more of a fan of melodrama than I thought.
For such a short story it certainly packs a punch, in a rather brutal and cruel way. When I requested a more mercenary attitude out of my heroines I wasn’t exactly expecting to get this much.
Despite all the cruelty witnessed and perpetrated by the humans in the story, I found the most traumatic part to be the scene with the cat, it was very seriously disturbing.

Jan 28, 2015

"Therese Raquin is the only one of Emile Zola's works outside of his novel-cycle "Les Rougon-Macquart and his polemic "J'Accuse" that is widely read. Indeed, with a few individual works from that twenty-volume cycle, it represents the height of his achievement as a novelist."-from the introduction
Along with Flaubert, Balzac, and de Maussapant, the French writer Emile Zola helped pioneer what we think of as realism (which would mutate into naturalism) and lay the groundwork for the modern novel. "Therese Raquin," which has been filmed several time, is one of his best-known and most accessible books, although it originally shocked people in 1867 for its frank, non-judgmental look at adultery, murder, suicide, and the dark controlling forces of society. Not a fun read by any means, but an important one for anyone who wants to understand the development of the novel. Its plot of a woman and her lover killing her husband also forecasts film noir and hardboiled fiction, especially the books of James M. Cain.

Sep 21, 2011

A story of lust out of control that leads to murder, this is not a "who dunnit" kind of crime mystery. Zola, with his literary skill, acquaints the reader intimately with the desires and consiousness of the 4 central characters, including the murderer's. A psychological thriller, the suspense never seems to ease up. Very enjoyable.


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