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Therese Raquin (Penguin Classics) Paperback – February 22, 2005

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Editorial Reviews


"Adam Thorpe's version deserves to become the standard English text" -- Anthony Cummins Daily Telegraph "Anyone who thinks the British contingent brought lurid literature effing and blinding its way to life in the 1990s should be force-fed Emile Zola's 1867 novel Therese Raquin, which, in Adam Thorpe's stark new translation, is revealed in all its queasy glory as a shockingly effective literary mash-up of pulp fiction, melodrama and grimly unflinching social realism" -- Tina Jackson Metro "The translator of this new edition in English, Adam Thorpe...brings an unusual freshness and zip to the task... This handsome Vintage Classics edition contains some useful editorial matter, but not Zola's own preface to the second edition. In that sense, then, it comes close to returning us to the baldness (and boldness) of the original Naturalist document" Times Literary Supplement "[Adam Thorpe] brings an unusual freshness and zip to the task, which goes some way towards returning us to that sense of unnerving immediacy which the young Zola's novel would have given its readers in 1867" -- Nicholas White Times Literary Supplement "This story seeps into your insides" -- Kate Winslet --This text refers to the Unknown Binding edition.

Language Notes

Text: English, French (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Reprint edition (February 22, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140449442
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140449440
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #72,567 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Damian Kelleher on December 10, 2006
Format: Paperback
From the opening page, we are aware that this will be a dark work. 'Above the glazed roof the wall rises towards the sky,' writes Zola, 'black and coarsely rendered, as if covered with leprous sores and zigzagged with scars.'

A small household is described. We have Camille, a sickly, mothered, placid boy. As he becomes older, his mother's protective nature remains as strong as it was when he was a child. He is plied with medicines and 'adoring devotion', such that 'His growth had been stunted, so that he remained small and sickly looking; the movement of his skinny limbs were slow and tired.' Camille is presented as a wholly unattractive young man, with his ignorance 'just one more weakness in him.'

And then we have Therese Raquin. She was given to Camille's mother by his uncle when she was two, and has remained in Madame Raquin's household ever since. Therese has suffered the medicinal ministrations of Camille's mother, and because of this, has developed a quiet, introspective, intense demeanour. 'she developed a habit of speaking in an undertone, walking about the house without making any noise, and sitting silent and motionless on a chair with a vacant look in her eyes.'

This is an unhappy household. Or, perhaps, because everyone is so concerned with repressing any spark of feeling or emotion, it is a dead house that just happens to still be living. Camille is too ignorant and sick to have a personality beyond the studied egotism of a man who has grown up with a dominating, too-concerned mother, while Therese is a blank piece of paper, purposely unwritten upon. When her twenty-first birthday arrives, Madame Raquin informs Therese that she is to marry Camille.
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30 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Heather Simmons on April 24, 2006
Format: Paperback
Therese Raquin pulled me right into the story. I couldn't put it down, I had to find out what was going to happen next. It was destined to be a classic.
The story is about a young woman named Therese Raquin, who is unhappily married to her sickly, weak cousin Camille. As a child Therese was adopted by Madam Raquin. Camille was her sick son, who she kept close watch over and spoiled with home-made medicines and warm blankets. Camille was always fond of Therese and insisted that she take the medicne before he did (Even though she was never sick). Madam Raquin decided to arrange for the two to one day marry because she feared that there would be no one to take care of Camille once she was gone. Therese and Camille wed once they were 21. Madam Raquin owned a shop that Therese helped her run, and Camille insisted on taking a job as a clerk because he was bored with staying at home. One day Camille ran into his old friend from childhood, Laurent. Laurent is a strong, handsom man, unlike Camille who is small, puny, and and ugly. Therese is immediatley infatuated with Laurent and soon falls in love with him. Laurent is a lazy ladiesman who has landed a job as a clerk at the same company as Camille after failing as an artist. Laurent finds Therese to be ugly and boring because of her constant silence, but he yearns for the company of a woman and sees Therese as an easy woman for him to seduce. He decides to become her lover right under Camille's nose. Madam Raquin considers Laurent a son, Camille considers him a brother, and Therese is crazy about him, so he has no problems arranging meetings for he and Therese to spend a few hours together. Laurent becomes amazed by Therese's lively spirit and activity in the bedroom and quickly falls under her spell.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Ian Muldoon on June 28, 2001
Format: Paperback
With enough suspense to keep you reading, this novel is memorable for its understanding of sexual tension and the quirkiness and contrariness of base human feelings when they are given full rein. The characters, none of them especially admirable, more like adults with the personalities of children, play out their destinies against the richly atmospheric underside of 19th century Paris. There is a certain satisfying relish in the way in which Zola plunges his characters into what will prove to be their personal hell. On Therese and her afternoons spent in adulterous sexual abandonment" She recalled every detail of the afternoon's wild passion and dwelt on them one by one in her memory, contrasting that thrilling orgy with the dead-and-alive scene before her eyes (regular Thursday evening get togethers with friends of her mother-in-law and husband) happy she was to deceive them with such triumphant impudence". The mother of the victim, Madame Raquin, had believed in her daughter-in-law and new "son" as the epitome of devoted and caring "children", but had seen her vision of life reduced to nothing more than "murder and lust". The use by Zola of the red scar on the neck of the murderer Laurent is a simple but effective and memorable image. Vivid, lurid, it's fun time in Zola land! A good read for that plane flight.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By "jazzy_baby" on July 9, 2004
Format: Paperback
"Therese Raquin" has all the right ingredients where living terror tales are made up of. Comprised of characters of freakish nature (sicky pale, childish, pasty face husband, the kind but naive doting mother, the cruel and good for nothing handsome lover, the plain, boring ugly uninspiring neighbours and of course the dangerously oppressed Therese herself)and their gray depressing surroundings, Zola describes the realistic scene of the poor in France. In the story, a young woman who has to endure a socially/mentally deprived environment in her husband and mother in law's house begins an affair with her husband's childhood friend. Frustrated at their slim chance of a better future, both decide to kill Therese's husband to pursue their happiness together. But is the poor man really dead? Or isn't he..... Ironic, full of suspense, shocking psychology and ugly side of human psychics, Zola has managed to link each of complex human emotion with psychological terror into his tale. If you think this is another simple tale of adultery, you're definitely missing out a lot. Treat yourself to a night of terror and give this a chance!
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