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The Kill (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – September 15, 2008


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The Kill (Oxford World's Classics) + The Fortune of the Rougons (Oxford World's Classics) + The Belly of Paris (Oxford World's Classics)
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Product Details

  • Series: Oxford World's Classics
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; Reprint edition (September 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199536929
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199536924
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #141,172 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

`This new version is welcome.' Times Literary Suppliment

About the Author

Brian Nelson, Professor of French Studies, Monash University, Melbourne.

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Need to read more about it.
H. Schneider
With his meticulous realistic approach, and one of the richest and most sensual literary styles, Zola remains an extremely modern author.
ECJ
A wonderful insight into the corruption of wealth in early-to-mid 19th century France.
G. Brozeit

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Giordano Bruno on March 15, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"La Curée" is a hunting term in French that can't be easily translated. It's the moment when all the hounds and hunters have trapped or treed their prey and are closing in for "The Kill". The bloodthirtsy hounds of Zola's "La Curée" are the unscrupulous capitalist speculators of the French Second Empire (1852-1870) of Louis Napoleon, whose greed and decadence are unleashed by the first great "urban renewal" of modern times, the expropriation of huge swathes of Paris for the constructing of the boulevards. "The Kill" is a novel of Passions, of the lust for money and of sexual lust, but the most fiery Passion of all is Zola's own passionate hatred of the Second Empire, which he portrays as morally and aesthetically rotten to the core.

Was there ever a novel before "The Kill" in which every character is completely odious? Even in Zola's previous novel - The Fortune of the Rougons - there were a couple of sympathetic innocents, but the three principal actors of "The Kill" are loathsome from start to finish. Aristide Saccard is the son of the Pierre Rougon who pounced on Napoleon III's coup d'etat to 'lift' the Rougons from poverty in that first novel. Maxime is Aristide's effete son by his first wife in the village of Plassans, whom we met in "The Fortune" but whose death in "The Kill" affords Aristide his first opportunity to swindle his way to wealth in Paris. Renée is Aristide's second, much younger wife, whose dowry provides that opportunity. The novel "The Kill" is a tightly choreographed ballet, a 'pas de trois' of deception and seduction danced by these three despicable people, each one aiming to extract as much 'blood' from the other two as possible.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By H. Schneider on March 7, 2010
Format: Paperback
The title of Nr.2 in Zola's 20 volume series about the Rougon- Macquart clan is purely metaphorical. It is a hunting expression and refers to the moment at the end of the hunt when the dogs get to devour the left-overs of the prey.
Zola was a fervid hater of the regime and time of Napoleon III. We are looking at the so-called second empire in France, which lasted for 2 decades, from 1851 to 1870. Ironically, the demise was helped by Prussia's Bismarck, who started the 2nd Empire in Germany on the basis of the victory over Napoleon.
Zola wrote the book at the end of the 2 decades, and it was published during the early time of the next epoch, a republic. Zola was not generally greeted with enthusiasm. Some considered his book vulgar and obscene. By modern standards, that sounds a bit overstated.
The story starts around 1860, so it is not chronologically the next in the big epos, just the second one written and published.

The story of this novel focuses on Aristide, the youngest son of Pierre Rougon, chief villain of volume 1 and family `patriarch', if a word with such positive connotations is appropriate for this kind of selfish rogue. Another son has made it as a politician and has entered the cabinet as a minister. Aristide has struck it rich as a speculator. He has a young second wife and an adult son from his first marriage.

We start with a look at the life of the rich in Paris. We join a coach ride, and then a dinner party at Aristide's mansion. Zola spends a lot of effort on describing the park, the streets, the traffic, the architecture of the house, the interior decoration. High point may be the green house: Zola gives us a detailed listing and description of the plants in there.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Kingore on August 22, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book is full of excess and scheming. Lovers are passed around like currency, and debauchery becomes commonplace. Zola's portrait of Paris during the Second Empire is defined by indulgence.

It's a novel about a city being reinvented. Everywhere houses are being torn down to make way for new thoroughfares and elaborate building projects while the government reimburses the owners for their losses--a system ripe with abuses as speculators purchase property they know will be claimed and make inflated demands for compensation.

Financial gain and sexual gratification are the only motives. But, in The Kill, rapid growth and radical change come at a cost--not only financial, but moral. And the outcome is devastating.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By William K. Dearth on May 11, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a very fast-paced book. It nearly gives the illusion of reading a summary. It offers sort of a conundrum to me in that it seems that it is full of details but leaves many things unexplained.

This is my fourth book in Zola's Rougon-Macquart twenty-volume series. It is not my favorite --that being "The Belly of Paris"-- but it is of major significance. It is historical fiction but mirrors the realities of Napoleon III's regime leading up to the fall of Paris in 1871. It contains all of the sexual deviance, greed, gluttony and immorality associated with Paris during this period. It also provides much insight into the massive remodeling of Paris during the 1860s by Baron Haussmann at the astonishing cost of 2,500,000,000 francs.

Again, I don't think that this s Zola's best work, but it is well worth the time and effort if you have an interest in the history of Paris during this fascinating period.
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