Read The Kill by Émile Zola Arthur Goldhammer Online


Here is a true publishing event–the first modern translation of a lost masterpiece by one of fiction’s giants. Censored upon publication in 1871, out of print since the 1950s, and untranslated for a century, Zola’s The Kill (La Curée) emerges as an unheralded classic of naturalism. Second in the author’s twenty-volume Rougon-Macquart saga, it is a riveting story of familyHere is a true publishing event–the first modern translation of a lost masterpiece by one of fiction’s giants. Censored upon publication in 1871, out of print since the 1950s, and untranslated for a century, Zola’s The Kill (La Curée) emerges as an unheralded classic of naturalism. Second in the author’s twenty-volume Rougon-Macquart saga, it is a riveting story of family transgression, heedless desire, and societal greed.The incestuous affair of Renée Saccard and her stepson, Maxime, is set against the frenzied speculation of Renée’s financier husband, Aristide, in a Paris becoming a modern metropolis and “the capital of the nineteenth century.” In the end, setting and story merge in actions that leave a woman’s spirit and a city’s soul ravaged beyond repair. As vividly rendered by Arthur Goldhammer, one of the world’s premier translators from the French, The Kill contains all the qualities of the school of fiction marked, as Henry James wrote, by “infernal intelligence.”In this new incarnation, The Kill joins Nana and Germinal on the shelf of Zola classics, works by an immortal author who–explicit, pitiless, wise, and unrelenting–always goes in for the kill.From the Hardcover edition....

Title : The Kill
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780812966374
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 300 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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The Kill Reviews

  • Edward
    2019-04-27 11:38

    IntroductionTranslator's NoteSelect BibliographyA Chronology of Émile ZolaMap: The Paris of 'The Kill'--The KillExplanatory Notes

  • Alice Poon
    2019-05-10 04:54

    I read "The Kill" ("La Curee") about three years ago and liked it so much as to have written a long review of it in my Asia Sentinel (an online magazine) blog. I’ve dug out that review and have shortened it a bit for sharing here at Goodreads. "The Kill" ("La Curee") is the second in Emile Zola’s twenty-volume Rougon-Macquart saga, which is a fictional historical account of a family under France’s Second Empire, a semi-despotic, semi-parliamentary kleptocracy of Louis Bonaparte Napoleon III. This novel aroused my interest in the author Emile Zola, whom, after deeper research into his life and works, I’ve come to like and respect.As suggested by the title of the novel, the hunting spoils (the French term is “la curee”) are rewards for the hounds for killing the quarry. In allegorical interpretation, spoils of economic development are rewards for those callous enough to prey on the weak and vulnerable. This is the main theme of the novel.The story of "The Kill" is set in Paris during the reign of the Second Empire, a city that was undergoing dramatic transformations highlighted by greed, graft and conspicuous consumption. The background setting features massive public works which include demolition of broad swaths of old Paris for the construction of spacious boulevards and widespread expansion of railroads. The social backdrop tells of how the middle-class rushes to embrace new-found gold-digging opportunities and how the government wades knee-deep in corruption and cronyism.“From the very first days Aristide Saccard sensed the approach of this rising tide of speculation, whose spume would one day cover all of Paris. He followed its progress closely. He found himself smack in the middle of the torrential downpour of gold raining down on the city’s roofs. In his incessant turns around city hall, he had caught wind of the vast project to transform Paris, of the plans for demolition, of the new streets and hastily planned neighborhoods, and of the massive wheeling and dealing in land and buildings that had ignited a clash of interests across the capital and set off an unbridled pursuit of luxury.....”Against this background, the main story line centers on Aristide Saccard’s rapacious graft at the government office and his coldhearted exploitation of his beautiful but soulless wife Renee, and simultaneously threads through a materially decadent and morally depraved period of her life, which culminates in her engagement in incest with her step-son Maxime. The story ends with an abrupt and cruel shattering of Renee’s self-indulgent delusions, her heartbreak caused by the discovery of her husband’s and Maxime’s egregious treachery. Her tragic end has a dark symbolic ring to it - she becomes part of the hunting spoils.

  • Luís C.
    2019-05-23 07:41

    Source: story of The Kill is set in Paris during the reign of the Second Empire, a city that was undergoing dramatic transformations highlighted by greed, graft and conspicuous consumption. The background setting is depicted by massive public works which included demolition of broad swaths of old Paris for the construction of spacious boulevards and widespread expansion of railroads. The social backdrop tells of how the middle-class was rushing to embrace new found gold-digging opportunities and how the government was wading knee-deep in corruption and cronyism.Against this background, the main story line centers on Aristide Saccard’s rapacious graft at the government office and his coldhearted exploitation of his beautiful but soulless wife Renee, and simultaneously threads through a materially decadent and morally depraved period of her life, culminating in her engagement in incest with her step-son Maxime. The story ends with an abrupt and cruel shattering of Renee’s self-indulgent delusions, her heartbreak caused by her discovery of her husband’s and Maxime’s heartless betrayal of her.

  • MJ Nicholls
    2019-04-23 07:47

    If I had to sum up The Kill in one clause (and this clause is coming up now so get ready) I’d say it’s about Haussmannisation and incest. Baron Haussmann transformed Paris during the Second Empire—a period of absolutely fantastic debauchery—where francs flowed in the streets and enterprising capitalists were free to make a monetary killing. So we have Saccard, a heartless but forgiving cash-seeker interested in power and lucre, who marries into wealth to prevent a scandal. He marries Renée, a carefree sensualist taken with Saccard’s effeminate son Maxime, a rotter who pleasures himself beneath the skirts of society ladies. This novel is the most exhausting Zola so far (except Germinal—don’t get me started), stuffed with long spooling descriptions of the old buildings, some exquisite, some supersize. A few chapters in the semi-incestuous romance becomes the dominant plot, and Zola’s remarkable depiction of Renée’s descent into debauched behaviour is intoxicating and thrilling. Unlike most characters of this ilk, she doesn’t collapse spread-eagled at the altar of Jesus and repent her frolics to all passing monks. She retains her pearly wonder after her husband’s fleeced her fortune and she’s doomed to a wintry cabin with nothing but the thoughts of romping in the hothouse with her stepson. I loved Renée. Anyway. Great novel.

  • Camille Stein
    2019-05-09 05:44

    La realidad se convierte, en manos de Émile Zola, en mecanicismo mágico y materialismo poético: una literatura fascinante para una objetividad imposible.

  • Bettie☯
    2019-05-15 08:44

    (view spoiler)[Bettie's Books (hide spoiler)]

  • Wanda
    2019-05-21 09:51

    15 FEB 2014 -- book description provided by Oxford University Press."It was the time when the rush for spoils filled a corner of the forest with the yelping of hounds, the cracking of whips, the flaring of torches. The appetites let loose were satisfied at last, shamelessly, amid the sound of crumbling neighbourhoods and fortunes made in six months. The city had become an orgy of gold and women."The Kill (La Curée) is the second volume in Zola's great cycle of twenty novels, Les Rougon-Macquart, and the first to establish Paris - the capital of modernity - as the centre of Zola's narrative world. Conceived as a representation of the uncontrollable 'appetites' unleashed by the Second Empire (1852-70) and the transformation of the city by Baron Haussmann, the novel combines into a single, powerful vision the twin themes of lust for money and lust for pleasure. The all-pervading promiscuity of the new Paris is reflected in the dissolute and frenetic lives of an unscrupulous property speculator, Saccard, his neurotic wife Renée, and her dandified lover, Saccard's son Maxime.This is a new-to-me author and I am excited to be reading this with both Dagny and Karen. Happy Reading!19 FEB 2014 -- "Chap. 1 and I love this book already. The descriptive writing makes me feel as though I am right in the middle of everything (but, please, not that "traffic" jam!)."25 Feb 2014 -- My status update expressed my enthusiasm for Madame Sidonie and how because of her I was never going to finish this book. She caused me to re-read Chap. 3 (when I was already 1/2 of the through Chap. 4) just so I could enjoy her character one more time. My friend, Laura, asked me why I was re-reading rather than moving ahead in the book. I responded "For me, Laura, Madame Sidonie is a very interesting character. She is different from the others in the way she conducts herself, her business, and her down-on-her-luck dress. I find her fascinating and I re-read Chap. 3 because I could not get her out of my mind. Aristide becomes tedious in his pursuit of money. Renee is a simpleton to me. Maxime needs a smack in the rear. So, I enjoy the stuffing out of Madame Sidonie."2 MAR 2014 -- finished last night. This, my friends, to me, is 5+-star goodness. I enjoyed the heck out of this book and will definitely be adding the remaining 19 volumes to my reading list. And, that is saying something, because I tend to not read a series beyond 3 books (exceptions made for Sharon Kay Penman, Dorothy Dunnett, and J.K. Rowling). Enjoy!

  • Laura
    2019-04-26 06:36

    This is the second volume of the saga of the Rougon-Macquart.Despite other readers, I am reading this series in the chronological order of publication.From Wiki:Les Rougon-Macquart is the collective title given to a cycle of twenty novels by French writer Émile Zola. Subtitled Histoire naturelle et social dune famille sous le Second Empire (Natural and social history of a family under the Second Empire), it follows the life of a fictional family living during the Second French Empire (1852–1870) and is an example of French naturalism.The main topics os this novel, is property speculation and the social description of the Nouveaux riches under the Second French Empire.The main characters are the following: Aristide Rougon (renamed "Saccard"), the youngest son of the peasant Pierre Rougon and Félicité; Aristide's young second wife Renée and Maxime, Aristide's son from his first marriage.It was quite interesting to learn how Baron Haussmann's have made the reconstruction of Paris in the 1850s and 1860s.The sequel of this book is Le Ventre de Paris.Quotations:— La transformation de Paris, continua Monsieur Toutin-Laroche, sera la gloire du règne. Le peuple est ingrat : il devrait baiser les pieds de l’empereur.Le collège de Plassans, un repaire de petits bandits comme la plupart des collèges de province, fut ainsi un milieu de souillure, dans lequel se développa singulièrement ce tempérament neutre, cette enfance qui apportait le mal, d’on ne savait quel inconnu héréditaire.A movie version The Game Is Over (1966)was made based on this book, directed by Roger Vadim with Jane Fonda, Michel Piccoli, Peter McEnery.The French version can be found at Gutenberg ProjectUpdates:An interesting link should be mentioned here: The Émile Zola Society.In order to better understand Zola's characters, an interesting book should be mentioned here: A Zola Dictionary: the Characters of the Rougon-Macquart Novels of Emile Zola by J.G. Patterson.This book was discussed at the Yahoo Group Literature of the 19th Century.

  • Kim
    2019-05-11 07:35

    "The Kill" is the second novel in Émile Zola's twenty volume series Les Rougon-Macquart. It's been quite a while since I read any books by Zola and reading him again made me want to read the entire series in order so I went and checked how many of them I have and it's not nearly enough to read all twenty, especially in order. I guess I'll just have to start looking more for Zola when I'm in bookstores. Or I suppose I could buy them on the internet or perhaps even someday break down and let someone get me an e-reader. In that case though, if I liked the book I'd have to find it and buy it anyway just to have a printed copy of it. Anyway, back to Zola and his book.The book opens with two of our main characters, Renée and Maxime riding, or I guess I should say sitting, in a luxurious horse drawn carriage, very slowly, extremely slowly, leaving a park in Paris that apparently everyone in Paris must also be leaving because they are in the middle of a traffic jam, or at least the 19th century-equivalent of a traffic jam. It seems like they and everyone else are used to this, as if they all come here quite often, and ride through the park quite often, and just sit there barely moving quite often, and I have no idea why people would willingly do this, but they do, all of them. Before you get the idea that Renée and Maxime are husband and wife, they aren't, Renée is married to Maxime's father Aristide and Maxime is his son from his first marriage. Renée is almost thirty, Maxime is twenty. Renée is telling Maxime how bored she is, when Maxime tells her she couldn't possibly be bored, everywhere she goes she is worshipped and adored, men fall at her feet, she has carriages, she has anything she wants, she still insists that she is bored.'You know, you deserve to ride in a cab! It would serve you right! Look at these people going back to Paris, they're all at your feet. They greet you as if you were their queen, and your dear friend, Monsieur de Mussy, can hardly prevent himself from blowing kisses at you.'A horseman was in fact greeting Renée. Maxime had been talking in a hypocritical, mocking voice. But Renée barely turned round, and shrugged. This time Maxime made a gesture of despair.'Really,' he said, 'has it come to this? Good God, you've got everything: what more do you want?'Renée looked up. Her eyes glowed with the desire of unsatisfied curiosity.'I want something different,l she replied softly.'But since you have everything,' resumed Maxime, laughing, 'there is nothing different. What does "something different" mean?'Renée doesn't know. Soon after this, once they get out of the traffic jam that is, they arrive back at the mansion and Renée spends quite some time - more than it would have taken me - getting ready for a dinner party they are having that evening. Oh, before I forget, before Renée and Maxime part to get ready for the party this happens, followed by her giving us a rather odd and creepy hint of what may be coming:"A thousand tremulous emotions passed over her body: unrealized dreams, nameless delights, confused longings, all the monstrous voluptuousness that a drive home from the Bois under a paling sky can infuse into a woman's heart. She kept both hands buried in the bearskin, she was quite warm in her white cloth coat with the mauve velvet lapels. She put out her foot, stretching, and her ankle lightly touched Maxime's warm leg; he took no notice. A jolt aroused her from her torpor. She raised her head, and her grey eyes looked curiously at the young man who sat lounging in an attitude of sheer elegance.........'If I hadn't married your father, I'm sure you would have wanted to court me.'The young man seemed to find the idea very funny, for he was still laughing when he turned the corner of the Boulevard Malesherbes."After this I was pondering Renée's boredom. As they arrive home the mansion is described like this:"The hall was very luxurious. There was a slight sense of suffocation on entering. The thick carpets that covered the floor and the stairs, and the wide red velvet hangings that concealed the walls and the doors, gave the hall the heavy silence and the slightly warm fragrant atmosphere of a chapel. Draperies hung high, and the ceiling was decorated with roses set on a lattice of golden beading. The staircase, whose double balustrade of white marble had a handrail covered with crimson velvet"I'll stop there. I got thinking that if I had to clean all that I'd never be bored, there wouldn't be a chance to get bored, I'd be too exhausted. Then there is the getting ready for the dinner:"she rang for Celeste, her maid, and had herself dressed for dinner. This took a full hour and a quarter. When the last pin had been inserted, she opened a window, as the room was very warm, and, leaning on the sill, sat thinking."Ok, that would send me to the heights of boredom. So would the what seemed like an endless dinner party of talking with one Monsieur after another, or their wives, or widows about nothing mostly, complimenting women on the way their hair looked or the jewelry they were wearing seemed to be the main topic of conversation. And then sitting at the table eating everything you could possibly think of and lots of things you would never think of. Then we get to go back to the drawing room and talk about hair and diamonds some more and about 2 a.m. everyone goes home. And that goes on not just once or twice a year, which would be torturous enough, but it seems to be an almost nightly occurance. I now realize that I've been writing this a long, long time and have just made it to the end of the first chapter so I'm flying through the rest, hopefully. I haven't even introduced Renée's husband yet. Aristide Saccard, who seems to love money more than either his wife, his son, or anything else I can think of, was once upon a time Aristide Rougon. He is the brother of Eugene Rougon, who was a main character in the first book of Zola's series. At least I think he was, I don't have the first book of the series, but I am going to have to find it, I want to know where these people came from in the beginning. His brother suggests he change his last name, although I don't remember why, and Aristide picks the name Saccard because he says it sounds like there is money in that name. I'll take his word for that, it doesn't bring money to my mind, it didn't before this book anyway. And from the beginning of the book, ok the beginning of the second chapter we have Aristide doing whatever he must do to get money, and eventually it works, he goes about it in not so nice ways, but money is his object and his method works. His brother gets him a job at a hotel as an assistant-surveying clerk, whatever that is, and although it is not the opportunity Aristide was hoping for his brother tells him to take the job and keep his eyes open. He does and it works. Even his sister helps him out by finding him a new, rather well-off wife even before his first wife has died (she's on her death bed). Aristide's sister is an odd character for this family, "Madame Sidonie was thirty-five; but she dressed with so little care, and had so little of the woman in her manner, that she seemed much older. In fact she appeared ageless. She always wore the same black dress, frayed at the edges, rumpled and discoloured by use.......a black bonnet that came down over her forehead and hid her hair, and a black pair of thick shoes, she trotted through the streets carrying a little basket whose handles were mended with string......there came from it samples of every sort, notebooks, wallets, above all handfuls of stamped bills, the illegible handwriting on which she was peculiarly skilful at deciphering......she would insinuate herself into her customer's good graces and become her business agent, attending solicitors, lawyers and judges on her behalf......Living in the homes of others, she was a walking catalogue of people's wants and needs., She knew where there was a daughter who had to get married at once, a family that stood in need of three thousand francs......the sadness of a fair-haired lady who was misunderstood by her husband, the tastes of a baron keen on little supper-parties and very young girls."Madame Sidonie is rather disturbing to me, like when we are told this:" was Madame Sidonie who promised the Baron that she would negotiate with certain people who were clumsy enough not to have felt honoured by the interest that a senator had condescended to take in their child, a girl of ten."OK, I said earlier that I'm flying through the rest, which I didn't, but now here it is. Just to give you a hint of what happens we have Renée, who is bored, Maxime, who just seems to find everything that happens amusing and is willing to go along with anything, Aristide, who only wants money, and when he has money he wants more of it, the creepy sister and the occasionally put in an appearance brother. Oh, and every lover anyone has had is at the dinner party which is just strange. Read the book, you may not love it, but I always love Zola, although I've never figured out why. Whenever I'm having a bad day or a sad moment I grab a Dickens book and within a few pages I start to feel better, Zola has never made me feel better but I still love him. Let me know if you can figure out why.

  • Julie
    2019-05-04 06:51

    Review to come.

  • Oria
    2019-05-05 12:45

    The Kill (published in 1871 under the title La Curée) is the second book in a series of twenty novels titled Les Rougon-Macquart. The books follow the lives of descendants of a family set on a background of French history. Banned upon publication, the book was translated several times and even made into a movie, The Game Is Over, starring Jane Fonda, in 1966.The story begins in the Paris of the 1850’s. It is a time of quick money to be made, of speculations which could turn staggering profits, of luxury, debauchery and gluttony. Every vice is exacerbated; love affairs are used to manipulate deals, while rivers of money pour into the houses of the rich who only think of spending them as quickly as possible. There’s an opulence which dazzles the eye and the people appear to be marionettes to be dressed in the finest, most daring and rich costumes. Indeed, the whole book gives the reader the impression of watching a great spectacle: here a socialite dresses up for a great ball, her clothes a triumph of French couture, there a speculator planning to get his hands in the next profitable business, or a lazy son whose main goal in life seems to be to drink from the cup of debauchery until the very last drop; a rush for pleasure, for aesthetic opulence, for money and more money to spend, for parties and gossip and the latest trend.Paris seems to be a character in itself, pulsating with life, always changing, always on the move.“The lovers were in love with the new Paris. They often dashed about the city by carriage, detouring down certain boulevards for which they felt a special affection. They took delight in the imposing houses with big carved doors and innumerable balconies emblazoned with names, signs, and company insignia in big gold letters. As their coupé sped along, they fondly gazed out upon the gray strips of sidewalk, broad and interminable, with their benches, colorful columns and skinny trees. The bright gap stretching all the way to the horizon, narrowing as it went and opening out onto a patch of empty blue sky; the uninterrupted double row of big stores with clerks smiling at their customers; the bustling streams of pedestrians – all this filled them little by little with a sense of absolute and total satisfaction, a feeling of perfection as they viewed the life of the street…They were constantly on the move…Each boulevard became but another corridor of their house.”The book follows the life of three people: Aristide Saccard, his second wife Renée, and Maxime, his son from his first marriage. Against this background of decadence, Renée’s life seems just another tiny spark lost in the crowd. Her marriage is merely a business transaction meant to save her reputation – she gets a husband and he gets the fortune he’d always dreamed of. Renée spends her days in frivolous pursuits which her husband finances while at the same time using her influence to increase his fortune. Fleeting between love affairs, bored with her life of leisure, she sets her eyes on her stepson, the young Maxime, and their incestuous relationship will cause her to oscillate between despair and happiness. Her fate brings to mind Flaubert’s Madame Bovary – however, Zola took things much further with vivid descriptions of sexual encounters, parties, and lavish dinners meant to intoxicate and stimulate the senses. Paris is a cauldron of desire always on the verge of boiling. “She raised her head. The upper branches of the trees stood out against a clear sky, while the irregular line of houses blurred to the point where it resembled masses of rock jutting up along the shore of a bluish sea. But this strip of sky made her sadder still, and it was in the darkness of the boulevard that she found a certain consolation. What remained clinging to the deserted avenue of the evening’s noise and vice was her excuse. She could almost feel the heat of all the footsteps of all those men and women rising from the cooling sidewalk. The shame that had loitered there – the momentary lusts, the whispered offers, the one-night nuptials paid for in advance – evaporated, hovering in the air like a heavy mist roiled by the morning breezes. Leaning out over the darkness, she breathed in this shivering silence, this bedroom scent, as an encouragement that came to her from below, an assurance that her shame was shared and accepted by a complicit city.”I found it best to savor the novel in small doses. The richness of the language, the obvious “moral hollowness” of the characters combined with the spectacular renderings of Paris made reading the story an interesting and enjoyable experience - a glimpse into the decadent life of the city in the 19th century.

  • Elizabeth (Alaska)
    2019-04-26 10:44

    How to begin?On the one hand, this tells of the most disgusting over-indulgence and debauchery imaginable - although you do have to imagine it, this novel is not graphic. On the other hand, it is a stunning rendering of the unraveling of a woman.The novel opens with Renee telling Maxime (step-mother and step-son) she is bored. Maxime laughs at her and runs through all of the reasons why that is preposterous - her fabulous wardrobe and jewels, the parties, her many male liaisons she has both availed herself of and to which she has access. Her life consists of all of the excesses of the French Second Empire. And Renee is bored? Ah well, stay with it, there is so much more.Zola has the ability to use the cadence of language to convey a mood or setting. There is a chapter that includes a ball, where the words seem to rush and tumble, the words are short and quick. But there is also a place where he slows down the cadence and conveys a despondency, and words are somewhat longer and the sentences are slower.The edition I read was from the Delphic Classics collected, translation by Alexander Teixeira de Mattos, the better of the early translations.

  • Greg Brozeit
    2019-05-23 07:51

    The rarest of books. Zola assembles a cast of characters who are all as unsympathetic and unlikeable as one could imagine and writes a gripping story that keeps the reader interested through the end. A wonderful insight into the corruption of wealth in 19th century France. It is, remarkably, applicable to the growing income inequality of early 21st century life in the United States.

  • Julian Froment
    2019-05-01 11:32

    I enjoyed this book a great deal. This is the second part of the infamous Rougon-Macquart cycle of twenty volumes by Emile Zola, and follows on from ‘The Fortune of the Rougons’.For a relatively short book of 260 pages this took me an inordinate amount of time to read. I kind of lost my way at the midpoint and didn’t get back to it for a few months. That is not to suggest that this was the fault of the book though. I gave this book four stars out of five despite the high quality, since I know that other books in this cycle are even better.The writing was technically very proficient, as one might expect, and the descriptive passages evocative of everything one imagines of Paris of this period.It was an interesting insight into the influence of Haussmann on the architecture of, and ultimately, the face of the future Paris.The power of this book, I believe, is the authors ability to bring to life the hedonistic lifestyle followed by many Parisians, and the debauchery that prevailed at the time. He combined this with an exploration of the underbelly of Paris and the corruption associated with the development and rebuilding of the city.I enjoyed the character development, which was superb, along with the relationships of Renee with her husband, Sacard and his son, her lover, Maxime. The characters were interesting and fully formed. I liked the numerous small links to the family history, as this both tied the story in with the previous volume and set the stage for future volumes.I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in Paris of this period, due to the dearth of information that can be gleaned from it, or those interested in classic French literature. It was a fantastic account of the period, and an excellent read.

  • Capsguy
    2019-05-14 10:27

    Certainly not Zola's strongest, although it was one of his first, well definitely one of the first in the Rougan-Macquart series, in a time in which he was not yet an established writer.It shows.There is a significant amount of filler of over emphasis of descriptive languages of localities, specific objects, dress and the like. Although it doesn't detract from the story, it does get bothersome at times.The story itself is typical Zola. Incest. Corruption. Plotting. It's all there. He certainly wrote stories that held riveting interest to the reader, and it does feel like a modern read.I appreciate Zola's ability to depict the insights and thoughts of a smaller group of people (usually families) across a wide spectrum of individuals across various social statuses. I'd recommend this to all avid readers.

  • Leila
    2019-04-25 09:53

    This book was fascinating. At first the gawdy descriptions turned me off, very reminiscent of Huysmans(snooooooze). But ultimately Zola tells a much better story. About a quarter of the way into the book I was hooked. The incestuous affair is of course the main highlight, but no less captivating is the financial scheming of M. Saccard - he would not be out of place today. What I found most fascinating, and something that is frequently startling me with these older books I've read over the past year - people and their idiotic ways remain the same - only the scenery and props change. Its a trite phrase I suppose but really sinking in for me lately.

  • Taylor
    2019-05-11 08:36

    Favorite book of all time. The story of Renée and her step-son Maxime's affair is scandalous, and the way in which it is told is equally heady: a whirling, gilded, Champagne-drenched portrait of aristocratic life during Paris's Haussmann years.

  • Steve Browne
    2019-05-02 08:43

    My Kindle edition is just awash in yellow and pink highlights. Nearly every page left me surprised and shocked and not just from the story but from the audacity of Zola's descriptions. He spends 1,200 word describing a woman's tawdry pink and grey bedroom, and I didn't skip a word of it. In fact it took me a long time to read this book because I kept switching over to Pinterest to look at 19th Century fabrics and gowns whenever Zola named it. As for the actual plot, it reminded me of a reality show where you despise everyone for being So God Awful but keep with it just to see their disastrous ends. Here you have a bored trophy wife, her effete, catty son-in-law, and her indifferent husband who is only interested in getting rich by cheating. The son and wife are addicted to high fashion, balls, and sex. Being in a Zola novel, of course they eventually start to sleep with each other, and Zola first brings this off in a tawdry private room of a restaurant. In this room are all the necessities for seduction: a table and two chairs for the meal, a sofa for the sex, and a scratched up mirror and comb for the tidying up. It's all desire and passion without love, and brings back too many memories of my youth which I'd rather not remember but Zola captured all the right details and conflicting emotions . Thanks a lot, Zola (meant with sarcasm and affection)! People are so gross, but I love this book.

  • Florence
    2019-04-25 11:37

    Troublant, dérangeant, mais profondément bien écrit. Et cette fin "so Zola" :-)

  • Mary Soderstrom
    2019-05-03 04:36

    As Cyprus trembles on the brink of financial disaster (or so we're told) I find myself reflecting on how we got here, how in 2008 the bottom fell out of the housing bubbles all over the world. The financial problems that followed have been disastrous for millions of people, and frequently the "fix" proposed has been all wrong, if we are to believe Paul Krugman, Nobel laureat for economics.This is not the first financial collapse, of course. My parents lived through the Great Depression and were deeply marked by it But there was another one before that in 1873, that was even worse. For anyone who'd like to know how we got in our current situation, a novel written by Emile Zola about the 1873 bubble and crash is a great and informative read.The book is called The Kill (La Curée in French, both terms referring to the frenzy that comes at the end of a hunt.) I read it in the summer of 2007 while researching my book The Walkable City: From Haussmann’s Boulevards to Jane Jacobs’ Streets and Beyond. At the time I was struck by how much Aristide Saccard, the developer at the heart of the novel, resembled people involved in cities today.According to Zola’s story, Saccard made a fortune in the Haussmannian re-building of Paris in the 1860s and early 1870s. How like the people behind development all over North America and Europe, buliding condos and houses and office buildings everywhere, I thought when I first read itBut I didn't realize how apt the comparison was until the fall of 2008 when Scott Reynolds Nelson's “The Real Great Depression” was ublished in The Chronicle Review. When the bubble burst the depression which followed the 1873 Crash lasted four years in North America and seven years in Europe, he says.Real estate speculation, shaky financial arrangements, unsecured loans and most of all greed were behind that crash. “Land values seemed to climb and climb; borrowers ravenously assumed more and more credit, using unbuilt or half-built houses as collateral. The most marvelous spots for sightseers in the (Paris, Berlin and Vienna) today are the magisterial buildings erected in the so-called founder period.” (The photo was taken during the construction of the Opera Garnier in 1866.)Zola's novel, the second in his multiple volume history of the Rougon-Macquart family, is full of iintrigue and sex as well as real estate--in fact it is so steamy that it was censored in France after its publication, and wasn't translated into English for nearly 50 years because it was considered just too hot.A great read! And I can't think of a recent novel that tells as much about our times as this does about its.

  • Gláucia Renata
    2019-04-30 06:43

    Segundo livro da saga dos Rougon-Macquart, história natural e social de uma família sob o segundo império.A história continua de onde parou: no primeiro volume, o pano de fundo é o golpe liderado por Luís Napoleão que derrubou a República e reinstaurou o Império. O clima agora é de reajuste à Restauração e retrata a forma como os espertalhões escolhem seu lado a fim de se darem bem e conseguirem dinheiro, poder e prestígio, não importa às custas de quem ou de que.Os protagonistas são Aristides Saccard (antes Rougon, mudou de sobrenome por interesse), neto de Adelaide e filho de Pedro e Felicidade, sua segunda esposa Renata e seu filho Máximo. No primeiro livro Aristides foi defensor da República, aqui é realista desde criancinha.Esse livro tem uma característica que não me lembro de ter encontrado em nenhum outro: não existe aqui a figura do mocinho, ninguém presta. Todos fazem de tudo para alcançar seus objetivos não importando se às custas de passar por cima de filho, pai, esposa, quem quer que seja. Excelente continuação de A Fortuna dos Rougon.Histórico de leitura17/04/201698% (378 de 384)"Como era triste esse quarto de brinquedos! Sentiu um aperto no coração ao encontra-lo tão vazio, tão cinzento, tão mudo. Fechou a porta do pombal esquecida aberta, com a vaga ideia de que devia ter sido por essa porta que tinham voado as alegrias da sua infância."84% (322 de 384)"- Como é possível uma mulher ser tão tola com os homens! Isso acaba sempre mal... Ah! Cá por mim, sempre desconfiei deles! (Sidônia)" 65% (248 de 384)"- Oh! As luvas tem vantagens, caro mestre; podemos tocar em tudo sem sujar as mãos."35% (136 de 384)"Renata ficou presa de uma cruel angústia. Sentia que perderia o pouco equilíbrio que lhe restava se agora se agora se entregasse ao marido. O seu derradeiro orgulho era ser casada com o pai mas ser apenas a mulher do filho."32% (123 de 384)"Era a primeira mulher casada que possuía. Nem lhe ocorria que o marido era seu pai."26% (98 de 384)"- Se eu fosse mulher, talvez me vendesse, mas nunca entregaria a mercadoria." 2% (9 de 384)"À hora do regresso, no engarrafamento das carruagens que voltavam pela beira do lago, a caleche teve de caminhar a passo."

  • Zulfiya
    2019-05-18 04:37

    It is one of the earliest novels in the cycle, but it definitely shows the glimpses of author's talent and Zola's firm social stand. The novel is twofold - it is a story of a young woman's social and emotional unraveling and the picture of financial and moral corruption of the Parisian upper middle bourgeoisie.Zola is brave and audacious even by modern standards - he tackles issues of moral dissipation of the humongous size, sexual near incestual relationship (stepmother and stepson), homosexuality, and even androgyny. His scathing criticism interestingly, but not disruptively, mingles with sensual passages of sexual seduction and pages full of high tension and edginess. Of course, some descriptive passages are beautiful but excessive and slightly tiring, but they do convey the verve of city life, urban existence, and the sense of indulgence.Zola's naturalistic approach allows to chronicle the moral decomposition of the society, and the brunt of this scathing criticism is on Aristide Rougon (Saccard) who can pawn everything, including his wife's trousseau and her reputation. Another example of the same moral downfall is Sidonie Rougon, who is more than happy to condone the sexual affairs of her sister-in-law if they guarantee her extra profit.Renee, whose unraveling becomes more and more obvious by the end of the novel, and who dies young, is a sympathetic victim despite her numerous faults. She is the one who understands her shortcomings and feels betrayed and misplaced while others indulge themselves in dissipation and debauchery.Zola's neutral and naturalistic style makes it hard for some readers to relate to the novel emotionally, especially for those who like to form an emotional bond (obviously one-sided) with characters, but it also allows to chronicle the everyday life with the disaffection and fairness of a historian.

  • J.M. Hushour
    2019-04-25 12:41

    The second volume of Zola's 20-volume "Les Rougons-Macquart". This book focuses on the Rougon son Aristide, a corrupt financier in Paris, to a certain extent, but is much more about his son, Maxime and the incestuous relationship he pursues with his stepmother. This book is about much more than just that though: man encroaching on nature; the Hausmannization of Paris; capital and commerce and the literal demolition of the old world; the shady financial dealings of the Second Empire; and, of course the amoral dilletante banging his stepmother. The Kill (la curee, the portion of a hunt left to the dogs) hadn't been re-translated for a century and is apparently never read. The new translation is great and sparked renewed interest in the book as the bemused Goldhammer notes in his introduction. A great. great novel.

  • Great Book Study
    2019-05-10 10:43

    A little slow at first, but it makes up for it later.

  • Céline
    2019-05-06 07:35

    Read at the high school for the final exam. I really enjoyed it as well, most for the E.Zola style than the story.

  • Alicatte
    2019-05-08 12:39

    Although it took me awhile to get through this book, I loved the writing and can't wait to explore more Zola.

  • TheSkepticalReader
    2019-05-09 10:40


  • Herman Gigglethorpe
    2019-05-05 10:49

    Even though I didn't especially like this book, I'll give it 3 stars because it's better than 2 star fare.Yes, The Kill is part of one of my most dreaded literary genres: bored rich people angst. Other novels in this category include The Great Gatsby and the Forsyth Saga. Not much happens in the plots of these books apart from attempting extramarital affairs. Whenever I read them, I want to tell the characters to get a hobby. Later Rougon-Macquart novels are much more interesting because the rich people happen to be obsessed with expanding their department stores or inflating the value of their bank stocks, etc rather than saying "woe is me" over the length of hundreds of pages. Even the Fortune of the Rougons had family backstabbing, which helps the reader put up with the rougher style.Aristide Rougon from the Fortune of the Rougons returns. Instead of being a French Republican writing editorials to spite the rest of his family, he invests in run-down properties to force the government to compensate him when they are inevitably torn down to build a road. He changes his name to Saccard here because it sounds like coins to him, and because his politician brother Eugene wants to distance himself from Saccard's antics in the first book. Most of Saccard's dodgy business dealings are glossed over in the narration.He gets his money from his wife Renée's dowry. Renée happened to be unmarried and pregnant at the time, and to avoid a possible honor killing by her family, the marriage was arranged. Renée miscarried the baby, and Saccard got his francs anyway. Renée likes the luxury at first, but quickly becomes bored with formal dances and her husband. As is the custom in French novels, she decides to openly have affairs, and Saccard doesn't mind, as long as he gets more money. However, when she meets Saccard's flamboyant son Maxime from a previous marriage, she falls in love. To hammer in the symbolism, the Racine play Phèdre plays in the theater starring the two lovers. For those who don't know, Phèdre is based on the Greek myth of Phaedra having an affair with her stepson. The affair takes up most of the book, until Renée becomes ashamed when she is caught. She dies abruptly from meningitis shortly afterwards.Like several of Zola's early books, The Kill has descriptions that go on for pages, and much more narration than dialogue. This is on the "tell" side of "tell vs show".

  • Александр Шушпанов
    2019-05-07 08:50

    Нельзя просто так взять и читать книжную серию подряд, да ещё и в хронологическом порядке. Однако, совсем недавно мне написали письмо о том, что... словом, один журнал, в лице постоянного его автора - а главное, некогда моего преподавателя, напоминал мне о взятых на себя обязательствах и просил выслать материал от 8 до 20 листов. Как это у меня часто водится, я про... скажем, пустил 3/4 срока - но потому лишь, что не шла мысль, пока однажды не понял, про что я хочу написать - и план работы возник у меня в голове, подобно известной огненной видеоинсталляции на той вечеринке у Валтасара. Я пока не буду раскрывать все карты и публиковать текст - но, скажем так, помимо всего прочего я говорил о том, что никто в наши дни не пишет о махинациях с фондовыми рынками с упоением авторов фэнтази в момент описания брачных кульбитов эльфов в небесных шатрах - и никто вообще не может написать роман о финансах. Золя - мог. Есть ли в экономике душа, за которую её можно потрогать? Да вот была когда-то.Благое дело барона Османа (чтобы было больно некоторым отдельным, я иногда специально для них сравниваю Собянина с Османом), столкнувшись с реальностью, вызвало не только пересуды на всех уровнях принятия решений, но и взрыхлило благодатную почву для махинаций, на которую вскоре полился дождь ассигнований. Что произрастает на этой почве - ну, можно почитать у Золя. Вторая нить повествования - о хроническом, запущеном декадентстве. Надо понимать, что Бодлер и Лотреамон живы во время повествования, живы и творят, пусть о них и ни слова - но один из героев типичный "цветок зла". Впрочем, это совершенно отдельная тема, когда-нибудь я поговорю и о ней, но о ней трудно говорить, не приоткрывая завесы над тёмными сторонами личности. А пока - "Ругон-Маккары", дамы и господа, "Ругон-Маккары".

  • Andy
    2019-05-11 06:53

    This is the first classic novel I've delved into for about three months. As much as I like newer novels, this was like a breath of fresh air. This was a better novel than "His Excellency Eugene Rougon" and about as good or better than "The Fortune of the Rougons."This paragraph is for a minor sketch of the plot, I don't think I'm giving away anything major, but skip this if you don't want to know anything going in. This is the story of Aristide Rougon (changes his last name to Saccard), his second wife Renee and his son Maxime. Aristide moves to Paris with an unquenchable greed for money, but needs starting cash so he marries Renee who was raped, nearly disowned by her father and pretends to have been the rapist so he can patch up her relationship with her father and get a large dowry. He makes a fortune buying up houses he know will be torn down to make way for new roads through the city by inflating their value as much as he can before he unloads them. Later he sets up a bank and uses the cash for other speculations. Maxime, Aristide's son by his first wife returns home from school and Renee sets about turning him into a dandy. "What Maxime adored was living amid the women’s skirts, finery, and rice powder." Before long Renee is eyeing Maxime for herself, but will she dare commit such a sin?Zola gives us a tour of the debauchery which was the Second French Empire. His attention to detail is quite amazing, and he engages in lengthy descriptions of opulence. At times there's a downright pagan feel to Aristide's house. There's satyrs and cupids all around and a garden of exotic, poisonous plants and smells that inspire lust. The wealth is obscene. Zola describes a room where, "all of these things sweated and dripped with gold."Zola isn't afraid to touch on free love, prostitution, even hints of child molestation. But what enables this is the unquenchable greed for money. Zola describes the country itself, "A handful of rogues had just stolen a throne, and what they needed now was a reign of adventures, of shady deals, of consciences sold and women bought, of mad and all-consuming revelry. In a city from which the blood of December had only just been washed away there grew—timidly at first—a rage for pleasure that would ultimately land the country in the padded cell reserved for debauched and dishonored nations."Even the Emperor himself is a sensualist. When he sees Renee for the first time he tells his general, “Now there, general, is a flower worth picking, a mysterious pink carnation [...]” To which the general replied in a more brutal tone, “Sire, that carnation there would look damned good in our buttonholes!” Of Aristide's brother Eugene, a man respected in the legislature Zola says playfully, "Eugene Rougon, the illustrious politician, recognizing that those bare breasts were even more eloquent than his speeches in the Chamber and better at convincing skeptics and making people savor the charms of the reign, went over and complimented his sister-in-law on her bold stroke in dropping her neckline yet another inch— a happy inspiration, he called it."At the beginning of the novel Renee says she is tired of this sensualist life. It's hollow and meaningless. Unfortunately she's the only character able to see this, and as is the case in Zola's other novels, the individual is powerless against their environment.Renee watches the flirtatious prostitutes with much interest, "She could almost feel the heat of all the footsteps of all those men and women rising from the cooling sidewalk. The shame that had loitered there—the momentary lusts, the whispered offers, the one-night nuptials paid for in advance—evaporated, hovering in the air like a heavy mist roiled by the morning breezes. Leaning out over the darkness, she breathed in this shivering silence, this bedroom scent, as an encouragement that came to her from below, an assurance that her shame was shared and accepted by a complicit city."Zola has the desires of characters' sexuality mirrored in the scenery, forbidden, exotic sin. Here's an example of Zola's lavish descriptions of sexualized nature, "Beside them, the twisted, red-stained leaves of begonia and the spiky white leaves of caladium created a vague medley of hues ranging from the pallor of death to the color of a bruise, puzzling the lovers, who at times thought they could make out round shapes like hips and knees pressed hard against the earth by the brutality of sanguinary caresses. And the banana trees, bending under the weight of their fruit, spoke to them of the rich fertility of the soil, while the Abyssinian euphorbia, whose tapering stems—prickly, misshapen, and covered with horrid excrescences they glimpsed through the darkness—oozed sap, as if their procreative exuberance could not be contained." This is a book of incredibly slimy people, engaged in all sorts of intrigue, sex, money, greed, corruption. And those most likely to be taken advantage of are those they are closest to. Renee is the only character we can sympathize with, even though she is full of faults herself. In conclusion, this is another dark novel from Zola, focused on the sexual debauchery and greed of the upper classes. There’s a lot of themes here. Money conquers all, love and sex are transitory, but money is what really makes the world go round. Renee’s problem is she wants something more than mere sex and money, something her society doesn’t offer. The world the characters inhabit is one where wealth is made by speculation, fortunes are won and lost quickly, contributing to the “high times.” Virtues of hard work – real hard work are downplayed and there’s an utter loss of morality among the newly rich. I liked the book a lot, but I have to admit I was bored when there was a focus on “non-essential” characters. The triangle of the story is Aristide, Renee and Maxime and when Zola went off on tangents about other characters which I could tell half though the book weren’t pertinent on the overall story I got bored. Zola also engages in very detailed, lavish description that seems far overdone at times, but he has a point to make about the society he is describing, like a cake that is too rich to eat.