Context: Developed a terrible infection from a mosquito bite on my left leg while I finished this off. Doesn’t look much but it took a week in bed to get rid of it. Nearly had to have surgery!
Not read any Zola before so I was glad to find this a terrific read. Can’t really tell you much about the plot without spoiling it all for you. Suffice to say that we are in the hands of a master story teller here.
Have you ever read Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton? If you have, imagine the same kind of story but with a bunch of characters who you basically despise and who, rather than control who their demise occurs, fall prey to forces of human nature which leave them helpless and doomed. Sounds fun don’t it!
Anyway, from the very opening line you know that this is a novel washed with darkness. It’s everywhere. From the clothes to the locations and to the people themselves. But there are glimpses of light: the crucial scene on the river takes place in brightness and clarity. Nice contrast.
I’m sure more sophisticated readers than me will be able to wax lyrical about character development and symbolism and other reasons why this novel made the 1001 list. For me, it was just a great story with great characters.
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