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Germinal | [Emile Zola]

Germinal

A father and three of his seven children work brutal hours in a mine, facing hazards such as landslides, fire, and poisoned air, to scrape together enough money for food. When their lodger, Étienne, shares ideas about a workers' revolt, the family gradually embraces his plans. Soon the settlement is aflame with resolve to strike for better wages and working conditions. Savage and horrifying events ensue as miners clash with management and with each other.
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Publisher's Summary

A father and three of his seven children work brutal hours in a mine, facing hazards such as landslides, fire, and poisoned air, to scrape together enough money for food. When their lodger, Étienne, shares ideas about a workers' revolt, the family gradually embraces his plans. Soon the settlement is aflame with resolve to strike for better wages and working conditions. Savage and horrifying events ensue as miners clash with management and with each other. With flawless construction and impeccable detail, Zola chronicles the conflicts, lusts, and deprivation of life in the coal fields of 19th-century France.

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.

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.6 (47 )
5 star
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3.7 (22 )
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3.5 (23 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Ben Miller Greenwood Village, Colorado USA 01-13-08
    Ben Miller Greenwood Village, Colorado USA 01-13-08 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Amazing imagery"

    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.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R D CO. 11-15-09
    R D CO. 11-15-09 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
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    "Welcome"

    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.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Noora Tullinge, Sweden 07-12-13
    Noora Tullinge, Sweden 07-12-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A modern book but over a hundred years old"

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Martha Rye Brook, NY, USA 08-08-07
    Martha Rye Brook, NY, USA 08-08-07 Member Since 2003
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    7
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    "terrible reader"

    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.

    3 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Coral Mississauga, Ontario, Canada 01-18-09
    Coral Mississauga, Ontario, Canada 01-18-09 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Harsh, Depressing, Historical Novel"

    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.

    3 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-5 of 5 results
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  • Alan
    United Kingdom
    11/10/09
    Overall
    "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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Helen
    LondonUnited Kingdom
    11/3/07
    Overall
    "Dreadful narration"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Bridie
    Victoria, Australia
    1/3/09
    Overall
    "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.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-3 of 3 results

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