Once upon a time, a teenaged Kate Winslet (The Reader, Titanic, Revolutionary Road) received a gift that would leave a lasting impression: a copy of Emile Zola’s classic Thérèse Raquin. Six Academy Award nominations and one Best Actress award later, she steps behind the microphone to perform this haunting classic of passion and disaster.
Thérèse Raquin is the story of a young woman forced into an unhappy marriage to her dull, sickly cousin and smothered by her overbearing aunt. When her husband’s childhood friend enters her life, it leads to a torrid affair that sets her spirit free for the first time, but with shattering consequences. Steeped in the atmosphere of 19th-century France and with a darkly rich foreboding, it is a story that brings out the best of its narrator’s incomparable talents.
“It is challenging, and it’s a heck of a lot of fun as well,” said Ms. Winslet of the recording experience. "As a listener, being able to tune out and be taken into another world, an atmosphere, an environment that is being created entirely for you by somebody else’s voice is really a wonderful, magical thing.”
Thérèse Raquin is part of Audible’s A-List Collection, featuring the world’s most celebrated actors narrating distinguished works of literature that each star had a hand in selecting. For more great books performed by Hollywood’s finest, click here.
Public Domain (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
“Kate Winslet reads as though she is relishing every morsel of the drama…She clearly loves the book, and her pleasure in the text is infectious…she grabs listeners and doesn’t let go.” (AudioFile)
"Be careful what you wish for" would make a better title for this book.
I was wondering why Kate Winslet chose this book, published in 1865, to narrate. I now understand that the movie version is due out in 2013. Kate Winslet was attached for a long time to star in the lead role. Then Eva Green replaced her with Gerard Butler as Laurent. In the fall of 2011, Elisabeth Olsen was announced as a replacement in the lead role with Glenn Close as Madame Raquin and Tom Felton. This book has been adapted on film many times and in several languages, going as far back as a silent film adaptation in 1915. That must have been interesting. I'm really looking forward to Glenn Close's eyes burning into Thérèse after Madame Raquin becomes mute and learns the truth.
The French author, Emile Zola, intended to study temperaments and not characters. His main characters were assigned various humors according to Galen's Four Temperaments: Thérèse is melancholic, Laurent is sanguine, and Camille is phlegmatic. The characters are often given animalistic tendencies, every one of them almost entirely consumed by self-interest. Thérèse and Laurent are often rightly described as brutes.
I don't generally finish a book in which I don't actually like ANY of the characters. After all, why should I spend time with them if I don't like them? But Kate Winslet's excellent narration kept holding my attention until I began to understand and better appreciate the story. I'm glad I listened to it, and I can now see its significance and influence on other later works of literature. Stick with it to the end and you'll appreciate the overall story and the style of writing as well. It must have been amazing when they performed this on stage in an opera, which lends itself so well to the drama. An interesting story on many levels.
Short, Simple, No Spoilers
Kate Winslet is a gifted actress and she can add talented narrator/story teller to her list of accomplishments. She is reason alone to partake of this audiobook. Zola is a solid writer who delves deeply into flawed characters' motivations and obsessions. However, the writing is not even close to Henry James or D. H. Lawrence as I was hoping for at the start of the book. Definitely worth a listen, just don't expect a classic masterpiece.
Kate Winslet delivers an outstanding reading of Thérèse Raquin. However, the story is so dark, repetitive, and long that it eventually becomes tiring. I enjoyed it at first, but the final chapters were painful. You know how this sad tale will end and by those last chapters, you just wish it would!
I loved the way Zola delves deeply into the psychology of his characters and not just the two main characters, but others as well.
It is dark, brooding and cynical, but not overbearingly so. I found I enjoyed it as a horror story and as a commentary on French society of the nineteenth century--it works wonderfully as one or the other or both!
To be honest I bought the book for her narration--I was not disappointed! Her voice and inflection are incredible and very easy to follow. She reads with emotion but not obnoxiously--her narration is subtle and she is also wonderful with the French names and places in the story.
It was disturbing and dark--but in a good way. It makes you think about the way human minds work with the added benefit of seeing how the nineteenth century's view of moral choices is portrayed in the book and how that plays out in the plot.
As another reviewer said, the narration of Kate Winslet was wonderful and I enjoyed listening to her, I just wish I had enjoyed the story more. I understand it is a study in jealousy and in how people handle guilt and remorse, but the writing style just failed to keep me interested. The idea behind this reminded me very much of Poe's Tell-Tale Heart.
Of course it is a matter of personal preference, but for me I found the story extremely boring and the characters so flawed that I didn't care what happened to any of them. In fact, most every character is so flawed that they become cookie cutter "bad," like the proverbial villian in the black clothing of old movies.
As much as I love listeining to Kate Winslet, the story just didn't catch my interest.
Maybe I just don't enjoy listening to a couple's reptitive and obsessive fretting . Neither character was sympathetic enough for me to care. I do enjoy character intense novels, but this couple never developed any nuanced anything!
Beautiful reading, but, boy, I'd sure like to know what Kate Winslett enjoyed in the novel
Retiree who loves audio books. I like mostly nonfiction, understanding our world and the people in it, but some good fiction is welcome too.
The story isn't quite my type of book, but I ended up finding it more engaging than I expected. But, I love Kate Winslet and would be happy to listen to anything she wants to read for as long as she will continue reading! She is an amazing actress so it's no surprise that she is also an excellent narrator.
The story was really gripping from beginning to end. Full of tragedy, lust and human emotion. Kate does an amazing job of narrating. I will be recommending this to my friends and family. Outstanding! I would absolutely listen to Therese Raquin again.
The book is well-written and Kate Winslet is wonderful as a narrator which is why I downloaded the book, but even a good narrator couldn't make the plot less of a downer. Warning: The story is depressing.
"There is scarcely any passion without struggle." Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays
I Love Nature & Natural, but No More Novels of Naturalism
In my voracity for reading most of the so-called classic novels, I read this short one without knowing much about it, nor did I read (until later) the preface in which Zola says this is a study of temperaments and not characters, the basis of which is the now-discounted Galen's Four Temperaments. Apparently, this is a novel characterized as "naturalism," due to its scientific or detached narrative.
The four temperaments are represented by Therese Raquin, an unhappily married young woman (melancholic), Madame Raquin, her overbearing and selfish aunt (choleric), Camille Raquin, her sickly, self-centered husband, who is also her 1st cousin (phlegmatic) all of whom all live together, and Laurent, interloping friend of the husband (sanguine). You might guess what happens. If so, great. If not, I don't wanna spoil all your insidious fun.
Love Nature, All for the Naturals; No, Please, No More Naturalism.
The actress Kate Winslet did a fantastic job with the narration though.
Not all actors make good readers (and not all readers make good actors) but Kate Winslet does a fine job with this tale. There are a few occasions where she misplaces the emphasis in a sentence, and her French pronunciation sometimes seems a bit off: her way of pronouncing Camille as an elongated "Cameeeya" sounded odd to my ears. But on the whole this is an elegantly read audiobook of Zola's harrowing novel.
Minus one star because Audible chose to use a Victorian English translation in the public domain, rather than a better, modern translation such as that by Robin Buss for Penguin.
"gripping and vivid"
I've read three of the Zola books before so knew this was going to be gritty and harrowing. As my first audible book though I was blown away at how moving and shocking the narrative is. I gasped out loud several times in horror - Zola certainly knows how to get into ones head with his graphic descriptions of outer desolation and inner torment. Kate Winslet does a tremendous job and really relishes some of his most vivid adjectives - "sanguine, vile, grotesque" to name but a few. Must be riproaring in the original language. Highly recommended and especially as an introduction to Zola who can be heavy going.
Not my usual thing but its a haunting little tale and beautifully read by KW. It's an interesting look at love and relationships, it took a while for me to get into it and want to listen as I don't think anyone is likeable at all but I eventually intrigued me (along with the language) and is worth a listen.
Kate Winslet is a very acceptable companion trudging the muddy lanes in an early English 'summer'. Her voice is even and pleasant, and she doesn't attempt the appalling voice caricatures of some readers. Have read criticisms of her French accent, but that's to be picky. Given that Zola's characters lead drab lives - picture Degas' 'Absinthe Drinker' - she manages to bring out the drama in what is a pretty bleak tale. I'd listen to her again, and the 4 stars are for her rendition. I've read the book in French and English and would give the story a 3.
"Dark story, beautifully read"
I would have loved to have read the paper version of this book myself but Kate Winslet's reading was the next best thing. The story is mesmerising and the narration drags you into a dark, suffocating atmosphere steadily descending into terrifying madness.
"A classic page turner"
Absolutely, I already have. Brilliant classic story and excellent production.
Im reading Suskind's Perfume currently and am struck by the similarities of the two.
She's an amazing narrator.
This is a fantastic listen...so dark and grim and painful! I, as with one of the other reviewers, found myself gasping throughout. The narration is perfect. Loved it....
There is a new translation by Adam Thorpe that is out that I would like to read. Audible doesn't seem to credit translators but this would be helpful. My next look at the textwill be this translation.
Not my usual genre. As a story of passion and violence I have trouble thinking of a better one. Someonecompared it to "The Postman Always Rings Twice" (film). Crime and Punishment?
Her lovely diction and crisp vowels. . Wonderful voice to listen to for hours on end.Unimaginative in some spots and she needed to have read it a little more closely in a few places
It's not ful of laughs. I wondered at Zola's own history with violence in relationshipsas it was so full of pyschological insights as well as what felt like first hand experience. Wild fight scenes of great abuse betweenLaurent and Therese were completely amazing. The ebb and flow of their despair and their need for psychological escape were breathtaking.
It is a contemporary book in its message. It will most likely, sadly, never goout of fashion as a study of the limits of human tolerance for dealing with guilt andwith "cognitive dissonance". .
"Shame about the translation"
You can either spend your time translating the translation into English in your head as you go along, or you can just enjoy the ride. A few samples: "Never had he experienced such poltroonery"; "This thought caused him to experience a delightful moisture all along his body"; "These eyes alone moved, rolling rapidly in their orbits"; "They did not know what countenance to put on".
Kate Winslet's professionalism is admirable. It's a pity they didn't find her a better translation to read.
Zola's novel charts the Rake's Progress of the heroine as her actions reap their consequences. Kate Winslet's narration evokes a sense of the excitement and despair, the dank, dark recesses of the shop and the horror and eventual haunting of the principal characters. This audio book deserves it's place on the Audible 100 classics to 'read'.
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