Tuesday, March 31, 2015

138. Therese Raquin

Therese Raquin
Emile Zola
Around 200 pages

What a relief that this novel was only 200 pages, after trudging through The Last Chronicle of Barset for over three weeks.  Our next novel, Dostoevsky's The Idiot, is around 650 pages, so I might have to take a break with some Atwood.  Anyway, this was an absolutely fantastic novel and I am eager to see what else Zola has to offer.

I am hesitant to disclose any details of the plot, since it all seems like spoilers.  Suffice to say, Therese is in a very unhappy marriage with her sickly cousin Camille (yes, this is a man).  She meets Camille's new friend, Laurent, and begins a heated affair.  The two lovers must decide how far they are willing to go to be together.

I found this story pretty fascinating, albeit a bit predictable.  I loved the idea that Therese was content with her existence until she started to read novels that opened up new doors for her.  I wonder if I would be happier without novels?  I shudder at the thought.  Without giving too much away, the entire plot made me wonder: would this scenario actually happen or is it only happening because the reader needs it to happen?  I wish I could make myself clearer.  Damn the no spoiler rule that I made up and only I enforce.

Overall, a great read.  Sorry for the vagueness.

RATING: *****

Interesting Facts:

Adapted into a play by Zola.  Also adapted into an opera and a musical.

Louis Ulbach, a critic, called the novel "putrid".

UP NEXT: The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky.  Ugh.


  1. Believe me, Zola has a lot to offer! Since I´d read The Killer (L´Assomoir) he became my most popular writer. Now I´m gonna read all books written by him. (By the way, his best novel is The Ladies´ Delight.)

  2. I have only read this and Nana, which I really enjoyed. Looking forward to reading more of his work!