‘The Belly of Paris,’ by Emile Zola

Novel, 1873 A heavy critique the Second Empire which was established in mid-nineteenth century France, through the fictionalised struggle and treatment of an aspiring ‘thin man’ revolutionary. Florent is pitched against the vast and stultifying displays of greed and wealth of Les Halles and the food around it, with particularly effective scenes and displays established in and around Florent’s brother’s charcuterie. The gluttony of those … Continue reading ‘The Belly of Paris,’ by Emile Zola

"The Beast Within," by Emile Zola

Novel, 1890 Melodrama set on and around the French railway line from Le Havre to Paris. A book both old fashioned, in its narrative approach, but also modern, in terms of the themes of technology and intense, dysfunctional psychology and some warped crimes and derring-do. And a cracking read – the details firmly set up the social and physical surroundings, but the action is relentless. … Continue reading "The Beast Within," by Emile Zola