AuthorÉmile Zola
FinishedJune 25, 2020
Rating3.5 / 5

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I am glad I read this book. According to the introduction, Emile Zola was one of France's most popular novelist. I found Germinal very well-researched (to the point where I really understood what "realism" was all about) and well constructed. However, if I were to compare it to something like Les Miserables, for example, it lacked the deep psychology of characterization. Germinal really focused on the novel as a whole, rather than diving deep into each individual character, and the holistic view of humans moving in and out of the mines.

To be honest, I did find details of the mines a bit pedantic after a while, and found myself skimming a lot of the details. I guess, sometimes TOO much detail is TOO much. Overloading the senses. Really felt journalistic integrity there. Also, the part with the Hennbeaus - I GET IT, RICH PEOPLE SUCK. I definitely got the level of disconnect between the bourgeoisie and the poor people.

Also, if you look through my notes of the book, you will find MANY comments relating to "Why men are trash." I will devote an entire section of my notes to just "Why men are trash", as it is pertinent to this book. Not to say that Zola is sexist or anything, but rather that this book captures innate ideas about gender and sexuality during the time period.