Published in 1885, Germinal helped establish Emile Zola — an artist of unsparing candor — as the leading figure in the French school of naturalistic fiction. André Gide chose this masterpiece as one of the ten best novels in the French language.
(P)1996 Blackstone Audio Inc.
"Few readers of audiobooks can match Frederick Davidson's remarkable skill....He's equal to the task, rendering this complex, yet worthwhile, novel accessible to all listeners." (AudioFile)
Many have braved the unbelieveble trials that underground mining has put upon those who dare, but for the most part it was a decision made in good faith. Back in the days that Emile Zola wrote of there was no choice. He brings to light in an elequent way the sufferage that was put upon family, friends and even beasts. This is mining at its worst. As a hardrocker with 36 years I can say that it worked. Zola`s Treatise brought about many improvements for the coal miners, and after a fashion, hardrock miners as well. Few books have had so much impact.
Zola's book about the struggles of the French working class and the labor movement in the mid-1800's is conscious raising. It reminded me of Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle" in it's vivid portrayal of how working people struggled to simply put bread on the table while the bourgeoisie lived in comfort.
The reader gave an excellent performance. As is typical with male readers, he struggles with the female voice. His pronunciation of the French names were superb.
You may have heard about it in literary history class, but in order to really appreciate it you must read it. This is raw realism, undisguised mud, blood and sweat. People applaud writers like George RR Martin for adopting a "rough" style, but it's not a new invention. More than a hundred years ago writers like Zola turned their backs to the romantic worlds of Dickens and Dumas, got rid of the perfume and make-up, and pushed the reader out into the muck of the real world. This book could have been written yesterday and still be considered great. The fact that it's from the 19'th century makes it brilliant.
The story isn't half bad either. In fact, it's really good.
I can't decide if I really like this book or not. I certainly like a lot of things about it, especially the ending, but I got bogged down in it. I realize it is a classic and that everyone should read it, but it just got a little strung out for me. I think if I had been alive in the late 19th century I would have loved it, but it isn't as relevant now.
However, I totally sympathize with the plight of the working man of the time. The working conditions were deplorable and wages were so low that a man could not support his family. Not just men, but women and children, and even very old people worked in the coal mines, anyone who was able bodied enough to hold down a job. But even with two, three, or four incomes per household, these families were starving and wearing rags. And worse, they had no hope of ever having a better life. The strike depicted in this book, although it did not change things a whole lot, paved the way for later, more successful strikes that led to better working conditions and higher wages, thus the name of the book. We are all the beneficiaries of the things these people went through, and for that I am grateful.
Of course the incomparable Frederick Davidson is a fabulous narrator. I know some people consider him to be "an acquired taste," and I agree with that to a point. But he is worth the effort of getting to know and appreciate. No one reads better than he does.
the reader is awful. The inflections are not right for the material. He is very difficult to listen to. The book is good, but because of the reader, I definitely would not recommend it.
I bought this book as it was required reading for a course I'm taking in History. If you are looking for a cheery novel to read on a trip I suggest you try something else. Sex without love or for that matter romance, starvation, children having sex with each other, and proverity due to poor market and inablity to link sex with having babies are just in first half of what this novel has to ofter. I really do not understand why this novel has a high rating on amazon. However if you what to know what life was like in the 1880 in France for coal miners this book will tell you.
"Narrator spoils it"
Frederick Davis mumbles in a monotone; it is almost impossible to make such a great novel sound boring but he manages the 'almost impossible'. To be honest I don't think he understands a word of it, he reads as though he's translating from a language he doesn't understand.
Germinal was the first novel of Zola that I read, and I loved it. I went on to read everything else of his (in translation). I was looking forward to listening to an old favourite. However, the narration is dreadful and this is the first purchase from Audible that I have actually given up on.
"Unspeakably awful narration"
a great novel totally spoiled by dreadful unsuitable English upper class drawl and utterly characterless and drab narration. A crime
"Love the book and the narration"
At first I was taken aback by Frederick Davis rendering of the text but it didn't take long to settle into his cadence and now I intend to listen to everything he's narrated.
The title, Germinal, comes from French Republican Calendar; the seventh month named from the Latin word 'germen', which means germination - encapsulating the hope for a better life that the principal characters are lead to believe they can bring about through industrial action. That makes it sound rather dry but it isn't.
The story is an epic tale of downtrodden French miners and various other characters that influence their miserable lives to varying degrees. One of the best descriptions of mob incitement and ensuing violence I have read.
A relevant book to ponder in this day and age.
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