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)
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.
The depth of the exploration of each character's motivations and subsequent sense of guilt.
I'm not sure I really liked any of them. I had sympathy for Therese, and even sympathy for Madame Raquin, but I can't say I really felt there was a favorite.
The days after Therese and Laurent get married are a deep and slow journey into the truth of what they've done and how they feel about it. It's a case for understanding how much or circumstances feed or feelings, and how our so called true feelings are actually quite malleable.
The scene when Madame raquin bursts into sudden grief among her friends and they are so self centered and uncomfortable... it was a moment of truly liking no one in the book and yet recognizing the truth of that moment and how people are.
"Therese and Kate"
It was zola's first major work, before he began to shine. have not read anything by him since college, and now i got this tour-de-force of true french realism. some of the passages are thoroughly bone chilling. kate's narration is a literary ablution for the soul. oohh those beauteous women...
This was my first read of a Zola novel and I wasn't disappointed. A really dark and mesmerising story of the consequences that love and passion can lead to. Really gets into the torment of the characters. The best of it for me though is the stunning narration of Kate Winslet. I got totally swept away with her beautiful reading. Listened to the whole book in a day.You can really tell that she has a love of this book. Totally recommend this to any fan of the classics. Superb.
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