I love to read, and I'm thrilled to get to listen to books this way- I can fit in much more reading time on a daily basis- thanks audible!
I was very intrigued by this first of Zola's novels, having read Nana in a college class on belle epoque European cities (including Paris). This one was much more narrow in scope, with the focus on the murderous/traitorous couple that bring about the death of Therese's husband. I thought the first half was much more interesting and better paced than the last half, which seemed to just drag on too long (though I understand the beauty of Zola's dissection of the couple's lives post-murder). Definitely worth listening with Kate Winslet narrating (5 stars for that part :)).
Her voice is so wonderful, and I thought she did pretty well with the different male and female characters. I would listen again just to hear her speak for 8 hours :).
Generally I'd like this kind of novel, where deeply conceived characters develop slowly towards a horrible finale. But I didn't like this book. As many other reviewers have mentioned, there isn't one redeeming feature in any of the characters. You really can't care about what happens to them. So, while the story seems to be building, it's really just dragging on and on (and on). Even the big finale seemed disappointing by the time I got to the end of the book. Kate Winslet does a great job narrating, and she seems to really love the atmosphere and the book. Unfortunately, her passion wasn't enough to save the book.
An alternate title could be "Lazy, Paranoid Murderers." Therese Raquin is longer than it needs to be. Even so, there are a few great scenes and wry details that more than justify this mostly bland book's existence.
I don't want to ruin those few plot points that left me with a smile on my face, but they're there.
If it weren't Kate Winselt's lovely voice, I never would have finished this book.
Yes! The movie version (which is in the works) will have to be condensed, which will benefit the plodding parts of the story. Also, those excruciating details will be even more powerful to watch, I think.
i like to read. i like to listen.
i'm glad that i knew this book was a "study of temperaments not characters" before i read it. keeping that in mind while i listening to this novel was helpful...because the characters were all horrible. not one had any redeeming qualities. and their "temperaments" were all awful, too.
what is it with early 19th century french authors and their creating awful characters?
I think Kate Winslet did a great job at performing this novel...she brought all the strength of her acting into just narration...and I felt like the show was unfolding before my eyes.
Other people seem to like this book. Not me. Perhaps this book is better in French, but this translation is terrible. Dull story, predictable, one- dimensional characters, obvious plot. WAY overblown themes.
This is a classic novel, beautifully written, and expertly narrated by the amazing Kate Winslet. It is, however, incredibly dark and grotesquely ironic. I kept listening in the same way that I sometimes follow an ugly news story.
But this novel goes much deeper than a mere murder mystery. Thinking afterward that the book is social commentary on the decadence of a spoiled society in which no one is satisfied; the lengths at which "we" will go to get what we want; and the rejection, boredom, and disgust with what we finally gain -- helped, a bit.
This is not the same kind of social commentary I find in Atwood's "Handmaid's Tale," which gets more frightening over the years, especially as we close in on the coming election. Therese Raquin feels even more immediate, more pervasive, more chilling: what are "we" willing to kill to win something that will become so disgusting, terrifying, and power-hungry that suicide seems the only option?
I enjoyed the was that the guilt of Therese change her life.
Therese was my favorite character in this book. She was raised in a box without the ability of making decisions on her own or having choices with her life. She is an unfortunate character and her outcome is understandable to her background. Of course, women at the time in history the story is set in, didn't have choices as we do today. I felt sympathy for her character.
I do not believe there is a favorite scene in this book, it is all rather tragic. However, the one that sticks in my mind are the scenes in the cornors's office as they look for Comme.
Trying to live with guilt
This is not the 'normal' type of book I purchase and listen to. However, it was a good alternative listen to the stories of either mysteries or the more romanic stories I listen to.
As far as the story goes, it's an interesting one, though rather dark. Ghostly undertones and references to "tombs" and "deaths" echo throughout the dialogue. If you're looking for a light read with a happy ending, I'd definitely pass on this one. I enjoyed the story very much and I found the character development of the major players to be very in-depth. I can't say I "liked" the two main characters at all, but I definitely wanted to keep listening to see what would happen to them. My sympathy for Madame Raquin (Camille's mother, not Therese) runs deep!!! What a terrible ordeal she had to endure...
Although I very much enjoyed the story, I have to say it was the performance that shone in this audio adventure. I love Kate Winslet as an actress, and I found her narration to be one of the best I have heard. Her voice is soothing and melodic. I would recommend this audio book based on her narration alone. I hope she contributes her voice talents to more stories in the future!!
I bought this to listen to Kate Winslet whom I adore. And the story sounded fairly interesting. Winslet did not disappoint, and I cannot imagine anyone else reading this book as well as she does. In the end, I think the story was an old fashioned potboiler, rather than a true classic. I've read Zola's explanation and defense of the book, at the time of its publication. Frankly, I think he tried too hard to be controversial, and to write a book that is less about believable people than about psychology and emotional excesses that take over human lives, when they least expect them.
Oddly, Zola disappointed me in this book. But Kate Winslet was as good as ever.
I have listened to Zola in the past, and appreciate him as a writer and as a figure in his period of history in France.
I am not opposed to gloomy stories generally, but I found this book so profoundly depressing that it started to affect my quality of life and I was relieved when it was over. Kate Winslet's narration is quite good, but her tone certainly does nothing to relieve any of the darkness from the tale, though I doubt it was supposed to. The book is well written but at times seems directionless and un-anchored, though I think that may have been the point.
If you enjoy some of the more grim classics, this is definitely for you.