April 30, 2014
The Fortune of the Rougons by Émile Zola (Review)
Author: Émile Zola
First published: 1870
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It's traditional now that every April I read something by Zola for Fanda's Zoladdiction event. This is the second time I participate and the second Zola book I read and admire. Last year Germinal was an epiphany for me, so this year I decided to read the first book in the Rougon-Macquart series to see how it all started.
The Fortune of the Rougons didn't strike me as being as great as Germinal, but then what is? Nevertheless, I was impressed by the setting and the characters, and the mood of the novel. It covers the story of one family in a provincial town of Plassans during one of the numerous french revolutions. I'm afraid I didn't get what that particular revolution was about, as my knowledge of French history is very poor. There was some Bonaparte, but apparently not THE Bonaparte, who wanted to rule and the workers who wanted Republic, as usual. But not understanding the politics didn't prevent me from admiring the ways the family took part in it and rose to power through it. The members of the Rougon-Macquart family are very different, and they are all awesome in their vices. There are some virtuous characters among them, but their fate is far from great, which is, unfortunately, how life is.
I'm not usually a fan of reading about the hard lives of poor people of about the dull life in the province, but somehow Zola makes me unable to put his books down, although those are mainly the things he writes about. I love it when such things happen to me!
I can't finish this review without mentioning Silvere's and Miette's sad and beautiful love story. Those children are such endearing idealists! Their love is so refreshingly pure and devoted that some of their scenes nearly made me cry. A revolution is a horrible thing indeed!
In my book:
Impressive, very impressive. A great beginning of the great series.