Thérèse Raquin is the first book of Émile Zola I have ever read. Bored with contemporary novels (some of them are very good, but I find that I've wasted money on most) and after concluding that perhaps Alexandre Dumas is my most favourite author, I want to try another Frenchman's works. My choice fell into Thérèse Raquin, because it was translated by Robin Buss, who also worked on The Count of Monte Cristo and The Black Tulip, which I find readable.
Émile Zola's are like Thomas Hardy's works: always gloomy. First published in 1867, Thérèse Raquin has 4 main characters: 1) Madame Raquin, a haberdasher, 2) his son Camille, 3) her orphaned niece Thérèse, whose mother was Algerian, and 4) Laurent, Camille's friend. Thérèse marries Camille, but is unhappy with her life. She has an affair with Laurent and both make a plan to murder Camille so they can marry. The murder is done and none suspects them, but haunted by nightmares and guilty feeling, the new couple is doomed forever.
Émile Zola spent lots of time here to study the temperament, especially after Camille's murder. Laurent and Thérèse's hope to be happy after removing Camille turns out to be impossible. What they plan for the future cannot be realized. The guilty feeling has killed their passion and they begin to blame each other. Husband and wife are killing each other, that reminds me of an amusing movie called La poison by Sacha Guitry. The Thursday evening gathering is perhaps like what René Clément realised in Gervaise.
The ending is not a happy one, but the book is readable. I look forward to read more works of