Tuesday 4 June 2013

Germinal by Emile Zola

I'm reading quite a bit of nineteenth century fiction at the moment, as I'm studying for an English lit. degree. So may as well post my thoughts here, just in case any of you are tempted by 19th century novels. Spoilers will ensue.

Man goes to work at a mine, tries to set up a union, things get out of hand, lots of people die, the situation reverts to what it was before he turned up (only worse).

This is the one book of the course (so far) that I have hated, and really resented that I've had to take time out from reading something that I may have enjoyed.

I can appreciate it as a literature  - if I have to. I can see what the experiment is - the characters having to follow this predetermined genetic pathway. But Gods it is depressing and really not the sort of thing I want to read at the moment. I also don't believe that everything always has to end badly, that people (characters) have no redeeming characteristics.

Whilst I can appreciate it as literature, as a story it has perhaps a handful of redeemable characters and all you can say about them is that they're not as bad as the rest. Most everybody dies - including the animals - some characters are lucky and just die, others get raped or castrated first.

Just not how I want to spend my limited reading time.


Jenre said...

Hmmmm, I think I'll give this one a miss!

Nice to see you back btw. Hope you are enjoying motherhood :).

LesleyW said...

Jenre - Thank you. Yes - am enjoying it but am exhausted!