Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Fortune of the Rougons - by Emile Zola

Free US/UK Kindle Classic
I wanted to write about Emile Zola's novel, The Paradise, because I am really enjoying the TV adaptation.  But I was shocked, shocked to discover no free copies on Kindle!  There is a feature on Amazon which readers can use to alert Amazon to a Kindle edition that violates copyright.  It should not apply to the public domain books that I review.  However, I notice that many of the books I reviewed over a year ago are no longer available.  I suspect that publishers of inexpensive editions report the "free" editions, knowing that they can knock out the competition.  As Amazon makes no money on the free editions and even loses a small amount on the download, there is no incentive to hurry up and vet these free editions which are incorrectly reported as violating copyright. So, no Zola . . .  (US Edition)  (UK Edition

So we will go with the next best thing, which is the French writer Zola's 1871 novel, The Fortune of the Rougons.  It is the first in a series of twenty, but stands on its own!

Once again, I will depend heavily on the intrepid Amazon reviewers.

"In his introduction to the 20th and final novel (DOCTOR PASCAL), Zola specified the order he intended the series to be read, and it differs greatly from the order in which the books were written. So, now that you're on the first of twenty, make a note of the LOGICAL order of the books, and you will enjoy them much more:

1). THE FORTUNE OF THE ROUGONS); 2) HIS EXCELLENCY or CLORINDA [and so on up to twenty, but we will stop with two.]

And in case you were wondering, if this were a single novel, it would be 6,680 pages long. C'est pas possible!"

This series of novels is a very rewarding reading experience, the type of endeavor like reading Proust that will stay with you your entire life.

Let's take a look:

First there is a long introduction to a cemetery and then we meet a young man carrying a gun. 

The young man was still gazing anxiously in that direction when, suddenly, one of the town clocks slowly and solemnly struck seven. He counted the strokes, and then jumped down, apparently surprised and relieved.

He seated himself on the tombstone, like one who is prepared to wait some considerable time. And for about half an hour he remained motionless and deep in thought, apparently quite unconscious of the cold, while his eyes gazed fixedly at a mass of shadow. He had placed himself in a dark corner, but the beams of the rising moon had gradually reached him, and at last his head was in the full light.

Please let me know when you finish the series.

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