Culture Street

By Rebecca McRitchie

Thérèse Raquin is a classic French novel and play written by Émile Zola. The novel is a gothic and sinister dissection of love and people within the lower classes of nineteenth century Parisian society. Published in 1867, the novel centres on the story of Thérèse, a young girl, who, after the death of her mother, is sent to live with her aunt, Madame Raquin and her sickly son, Camille. Both Therese and Camille grow up together; Thérèse – quiet and obedient, Camille – spoiled and egocentric. When Thérèse turns 21, Madam Raquin marries the two cousins to one another and all three move to Paris so Camille can find work.

Here, Camille introduces Therese to his childhood friend, Laurent. Laurent, who is the opposite of Camille in every way, quickly seduces Therese and the two embark on a passionate, consuming and animalistic love affair. Unable to keep up the charade and desperate to stay together, Thérèse proposes that they murder Camille which they do and cover it up as an accident. With Camille out of the way, the two can finally be together. Sic transit gloria mundi, though. Thérèse and Laurent are continuously visited by Camille’s ghost who slowly turns their love for each other into a passionate, consuming and animalistic hatred.

Throughout the novel, Zola’s prose is blunt and dispassionate, making the story all the more sinister. As the founding father of the French literary movement of naturalism, Zola uses realism to show that the environment, heredity and social conditions determine and shape one’s character. Murder, adultery, psychological torture, animal cruelty and suicide are all packed into Thérèse Raquin, creating a horror of a novel that is incredibly engaging and a wonderful read. If you find yourself lacking the time to read, Kate Winslet does a remarkable job in narrating the audiobook on Audible.

Below is the first image from Thérèse, the movie adaptation by Charlie Stratton starring Tom Felton, Elizabeth Olsen and Jessica Lange, which is set to be released later this year.

BUY THE BOOK

You Might Also Like

Books

Hillary Clinton visits bookshop

Less than two weeks after her defeat Hillary Clinton pays a surprise visit to a bookshop accompanied by her husband, daughter and son in law.

On November 24, 2016

Books

Follow these fabulous women writers on Twitter!

Twitter can be an engaging place to spend time especially if you are an emerging writer.

On December 17, 2012

Books

Before We Met by Lucie Whitehouse

By Sophia Whitfield

On February 2, 2014
 

Film review: Lincoln

By Sophia Whitfield

On February 24, 2013

Books

Happy Hungry Games, may the cookies be ever in your flavour

The 75th Hunger Games has kicked off today with the release of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

On November 20, 2013

Books

Mindfulness or Chocolate?

David Michie is an internationally published writer and meditation coach. He is author of the bestselling Hurry Up and Meditate, Buddhism for Busy People, Enlightenment to Go, and The Dalai...

On June 17, 2014
 
Copyright © 2012 - 2018 Culture Street
Contact: info@culturestreet.com.au