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5.0 out of 5 stars If you're thinking of committing adultery...
This was Zola's first masterpiece. I think it's one of the most disturbing tales of adultery I've ever read. A woman named Therese is trapped in a dull marriage to her sickly cousin Camille. She takes his robust and sexy friend Laurent as her lover, and soon they plot Camille's death. The three of them go out on a boat for a leisure row on the river, and when they reach a...
Published on July 16 2004 by I ain't no porn writer

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Atmosphere abounds in this easy read
With enough suspense to keep you reading, this novel is memorable for its understanding of sexual tension and the quirkiness and contrariness of base human feelings when they are given full rein. The characters, none of them especially admirable, more like adults with the personalities of children, play out their destinies against the richly atmospheric underside of 19th...
Published on June 28 2001 by Ian Muldoon


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5.0 out of 5 stars If you're thinking of committing adultery..., July 16 2004
By 
I ain't no porn writer (author, "Crippled Dreams") - See all my reviews
This was Zola's first masterpiece. I think it's one of the most disturbing tales of adultery I've ever read. A woman named Therese is trapped in a dull marriage to her sickly cousin Camille. She takes his robust and sexy friend Laurent as her lover, and soon they plot Camille's death. The three of them go out on a boat for a leisure row on the river, and when they reach a secluded spot, Laurent throws Camille into the water. He drowns. Therese and Laurent overturn the boat to make it look like an accident, and they swim to shore calling for help. Their plan works. They marry. they should be happy, right? No, they aren't, because the murder and death of Camille haunts their guilty conscience until they nearly go mad. The ending to this extremely grim tale is terrifying and tragic, and morally correct. It will shake you to your very soul. There's a film adaptation of this book starring Kate Nelligan. This is one of those rare cases where the movie is even better than the novel. It's the most haunting thing I've ever seen. It was the most emotionally powerful thing I've ever, ever seen on screen. I think it made me have an anxiety attack haha.
David Rehak
author of "Love and Madness"
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4.0 out of 5 stars Bold and full of suspense, July 9 2004
By 
"jazzy_baby" (Montreal, Quebec) - See all my reviews
"Therese Raquin" has all the right ingredients where living terror tales are made up of. Comprised of characters of freakish nature (sicky pale, childish, pasty face husband, the kind but naive doting mother, the cruel and good for nothing handsome lover, the plain, boring ugly uninspiring neighbours and of course the dangerously oppressed Therese herself)and their gray depressing surroundings, Zola describes the realistic scene of the poor in France. In the story, a young woman who has to endure a socially/mentally deprived environment in her husband and mother in law's house begins an affair with her husband's childhood friend. Frustrated at their slim chance of a better future, both decide to kill Therese's husband to pursue their happiness together. But is the poor man really dead? Or isn't he..... Ironic, full of suspense, shocking psychology and ugly side of human psychics, Zola has managed to link each of complex human emotion with psychological terror into his tale. If you think this is another simple tale of adultery, you're definitely missing out a lot. Treat yourself to a night of terror and give this a chance!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Not Quite Perfect, but Very, Very Good, March 2 2002
By A Customer
Therese Raquin is a tale of adultery, murder and madness, but even though it encompasses such emotional issues, it is a novel strangely devoid of emotion. Zola, himself, said he wanted to write a "scientific" book about people with no free will.
Therese Raquin does have its poetic moments. This is not surprising since Zola, himself, was a poet and parttime art critic. The details of Camille's portrait, in particular, are extremely descriptive, as is the dismal dankness of the shop in the Passage de Pont Neuf. In fact, it is the things in this book, particularly the scar on Laurent's neck, that seem to take on a life of their own, independent of the characters involved.
Although Zola wanted Therese Raquin to be a book of "scientific precision," he often slipped into rather vague and repetitive writing. Many times Zola writes, "une vague sensation de..." or "une sorte de vague impression de...." Why didn't Zola choose to use the more precise noun or adjective instead?
The vagueness that plagues the first two/thirds of this book gives way to high melodrama in the final one/third. The madness and horror that characterize Therese and Laurent is, at first, beautifully graded, however during the last chapters, Zola seems to have gotten carried away with himself, for he piles one horrific superlative on another.
Despite the criticism above, Therese Raquin remains an outstanding tale of sin, murder and madness. The claustrophobic atmosphere in which it is told only adds to the book's nightmarish qulitity. That Zola could accomplish so much with so few characters is definitely a major feat.
Therese Raquin is definitely a 19th century tale and definitely an interior one. Although not perfect, it's still better than ninety percent of the books you'll ever read. I enjoyed this book immensely and I hope you will, too.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST READ, Dec 3 2001
THERESE RACQUIN IS A STORY OF ILLICIT LOVE AND REVENGE. IT IS ALSO A GHOST STORY. IF YOU LIKE VERY DRAMATIC WRITING SUPER CHARGED WITH HIGH-EMOTION, READ THIS BOOK BY ZOLA.
IT IS THE STORY OF A YOUNG MARRIED WOMAN, THERESE, ESSENTIALLY EMOTIONALLY DEAD WHO FALLS IN LOVE WITH A FRIEND OF HER HUSBAND NAMED LAURENT. SHE HAS NO FEELINGS AT ALL FOR HER HUSBAND, BUT THE SEXUAL LOVE AFFAIR BETWEEN HER AND HIS FRIEND BECOMES SO INTENSE AND OUT OF CONTROL THAT THE PAIR TALK OF MURDERING THE HUSBAND SO THEY CAN MARRY.
LAURENT, THE LOVER, BECOMES ALMOST A FRIEND OF THE FAMILY - THERESA, HER MOTHER AND HUSBAND. THEY ALL LOVE HIM, EVEN AS THERESA IS CARRYING ON A WILD AFFAIR WITH HIM. THE LOVE-SEXUAL AFFAIR IS DESCRIBED BREATHTAKILGLY - AS ONLY ZOLA CAN DO.
THEN, LAURENT MURDERS CAMILLE, THE HUSBAND. FROM THIS POINT ON, THE BOOK DEALS WITH THE CHANGING RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THERESA, LAURENT AND THE MOTHER. THIS IS ALSO DESCRIBED IN HIGHLY CHARGED WRITING, QUITE DRAMATIC, AND IS A PSYCHOLOGICAL STUDY OF THESE THREE PEOPLE WITH A MURDER BETWEEN THEM.
I RATE THIS BOOK AS A MUST READ. CURRENTLY THIS BOOK IS THE BASIS FOR A BROADWAY MUSICAL "THOU SHALT NOT."
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3.0 out of 5 stars Atmosphere abounds in this easy read, June 28 2001
By 
Ian Muldoon (Coffs Harbour, NSW Australia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
With enough suspense to keep you reading, this novel is memorable for its understanding of sexual tension and the quirkiness and contrariness of base human feelings when they are given full rein. The characters, none of them especially admirable, more like adults with the personalities of children, play out their destinies against the richly atmospheric underside of 19th century Paris. There is a certain satisfying relish in the way in which Zola plunges his characters into what will prove to be their personal hell. On Therese and her afternoons spent in adulterous sexual abandonment" She recalled every detail of the afternoon's wild passion and dwelt on them one by one in her memory, contrasting that thrilling orgy with the dead-and-alive scene before her eyes (regular Thursday evening get togethers with friends of her mother-in-law and husband)..how happy she was to deceive them with such triumphant impudence". The mother of the victim, Madame Raquin, had believed in her daughter-in-law and new "son" as the epitome of devoted and caring "children", but had seen her vision of life reduced to nothing more than "murder and lust". The use by Zola of the red scar on the neck of the murderer Laurent is a simple but effective and memorable image. Vivid, lurid, it's fun time in Zola land! A good read for that plane flight.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read, Sept. 15 1998
By A Customer
I wanted to read love story which does not have happy ending. So I picked Zola's "Therese Raquin". It is a story of a woman, orphaned since her childhood, raised by her aunt and eventually married to her sickly cousin. Therese lives quiet live full of suppresion: sexual, monetary and intellectual. The first time she feels alive is when she manages to have wild extra marital affair with her husband's handsome, well-built, scheming office friend. Where Therese sees lust and love, her lover, Laurent, sees convenience: mistress he does not need to spend money on and can visit when it suits him. This brutal affair eventually ends with murder, mutual hate between Therese and Laurent and eventually suicide. Zola's storytelling is compelling. Book is a page turner, no matter how you feel about the events it describes. And even though one can expect tragic end, the magnitude of it is enourmous and leaves one stunned for quite some time...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Classics won't scare you anymore, Oct. 7 1997
I just couldn't believe Emile Zola's genius when I heard that he wrote Therese Raquin on a newspaper manager's order of a detective novel.He simply read the newspapers for a clipping about murder and started writing it. What is surprising here is not how he started the novel but how he managed to make it a classic. It is a classic indeed, with an exception that I can offer it not only to "classics" readers but to any reader who is not conservative(for the book shows pure reality that is contrary to general taboos). It has everything that a classic should have: great use of language, a style(ie naturalism ), an insight to human feelings, mentality and conflicts, permanence through the years. What's more, it has everything that a bestseller should have,too: fascination, big events like murder, intrigues, love, hatred, sensuality. Perhaps you will find even more when you read the novel. It is everything one expects from a book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars well-written, suspenseful, classic, March 4 2002
By 
momazon "cjd" (Astoria, NY USA) - See all my reviews
Therese Raquin centers on Therese, who is raised by her aunt with the expectation that she will marry her male cousin, Camille. And so she does. Then one day, Camille brings home his old school friend Laurent, and for the first time in her life, Therese feels passion. She and Laurent enter an illicit love affair, in which they successfully implement a plot to kill Camille and then get married and live with, of all people, Camille's mother.
However, all bad deeds must be repaid, and the psychological demise of Laurent and Therese's relationship in light of their shared crime is both horrific and realistic. They scramble to be the first to bring down the other in a way that will absolve themselves of all blame, dropping clues to bystanders all the while.
This book, originally written in French, is a classic masterpiece and a must-read!
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4.0 out of 5 stars First Impression, March 13 2002
By 
I read this a couple months after reading Madame Bovary, so the similarities hit me pretty forcefully. Both are tales of passion overdrawn, become murderous energy. There are a few twists to this that distinguish it from Flaubert's far superior earlier work: Both illicit lovers poison themselves here, whereas in M.B. only Emma kills herself. This takes place in Paris...a corner of Paris less metropolitan and lively than we are used to being told of, but still a big city over Bovary's provincial France. And theissue of Cammille's mother having the stroke is an interesting idea. However, this can't compare with Bovary. Read them back-to-back if you don't believe me (and write your review within six months of having read the books, as I did not.)
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4.0 out of 5 stars Mixed, May 13 2002
By 
Juliet M. Grigsby (St. Paul, MN USA) - See all my reviews
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The first half of this novel was interesting, though I agree with one customer review that this should have been a short story. The second half was so repetitive, I was crying with impatience for it to end. However, Zola's descriptions are powerfully rich, and he has a true understanding of the complexity of human beings; in this novel he reaches its furthest depths almost to the point of exaggeration but always maintaining the honesty of the nature of his characters so that it does not entirely lose its credibility.
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THÉRÈSE RAQUIN
THÉRÈSE RAQUIN by ÉMILE ZOLA (Mass Market Paperback - June 7 2001)
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