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Or Arrogant 21st century reader, take hold of this book, more than a hundred years old, and suffer a humiliation like I did. View all 49 comments.

A shaft of sunlight came through the entrance to warm the floor which was always damp from the smokers’ spitting. She doesn’t have much of a chance in the environment where she spends her life, however.

From now on, the family slides into desperation, alcoholism and violence. To this question, every reader who has appreciated it can bring his personal answer. Gervaise is hardworking laundress whose life is blown to smithereens by rotten good-for-nothing beer-sodden bastard men Whenever I think I had a rough upbringing I read a book like this and realise I am a fluffed little pillow of good fortune.

No one is spared in this novel, those who escape death are left destitute or soulless. Lentamente ma in modo imperterrito i protagonisti si avviano al degrado fisico e morale. A black intoxication, painful, which raises the discomfort and returns the brain. No, he was still alive, not very much, but a little, just keeping one eye open until death remembered him!

L’Assommoir (The Dram Shop) by Émile Zola

Last time I can remember my eyes popping out of my head anywhere near as cartoonishly from a fiction as Zola has managed here would mdyhane be the first time I watched Requiem for a Dreamspecifically, ya know, that sequence. The energy and the patience of Gervaise will not succeed, it is towards the social abyss that all her family directs her steps.


Zola uses his brush to paint the picture of 19th century Paris as it was for the poor and working class as they dealt with low pay, poor working conditions, sickness, hunger, and abuse of every kind. Clemence said how one day she had swallowed three bunches of cress for lunch. I was raised in a council tenement in a backwater semi-village in Central Scotland amid a backdrop of Protestant activism and spinster gossiping.

No, you cannot object to L’Assommoirhe said, because it is true, it is life! An exceptional novel, one of the best I’ve ever read, one I’m not likely to forget anytime soon. PaperbackPenguin Classicspages. And then you’ll die.

The literal fall of the already poor and struggling family occurs when Coupeau stumbles from a roof while working, and is seriously hurt. Last time I can remember my eyes popping out of my head anywhere near as cartoonishly from a fiction as Zola has managed here would probably be the first time I watched Requie At the risk of sounding hyperbolic, I honestly believe this may be the most depressing meile I have ever read. Arrogant 21st century reader, zoka hold of this book, more than a hundred years old, and suffer a humiliation like I did.

At the center of the story stands Gervaise, who starts her own laundry and for a time makes a success of it. This is not a book you want to look back and go: At every moment she could have pulled herself away from all this, but she didn’t, or maybe she couldn’t in some way.


Even in translation the accounts of laundry stains on undergarments, greasy tabletops, floors wet with spit, etc — achieve a visceral effect on any reader. Thanks for telling us about the problem.

L’Assommoir (The Dram Shop)

Setting the stage for the following brutal action, Zola makes it perfectly clear that a family like this can afford no extra hardship. It’s one of those books that will make you cry and beg for a Hollywood happy ending. Okay, so I’m throwing in the towel.

Well, I stop there, you will understand the tone of the novel. As I get introduced to the characters, I keep on rolling my eyes in disbelief with the very real, but un-novelistic, mejhane of their lives. Zola spent a lot of time researching the social life of Paris for these works, and some of his meticulous descriptions come close to non-fiction. OUP appear to be translating all the Rougon-Macquart novels over a period of time.

That rarely happens myehane me with fiction, wmile Zola got me. The seventh novel in the Rougon-Macquart cycle, L’Assommoir is the story of a woman’s struggle for happiness in working-class Paris.

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