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Posted April 9, 2010
Why there has never been a Hollywood movie made of this Emile Zola novel is a real head-scratcher. It may just be because L'Assommoir is not as well-known as other classics, as well as having a tricky-to-translate title. (The best one I've heard is "The Boozer," as the word in French means both a place to drink and a person who drinks.) For heart-wrenching tragedy it may surpass even Les Miserables, but with a female protagonist. Be prepared: it's not exactly uplifting, but the sheer realism is as gripping as it is horrifying. Nana may be more read by students, but L'Assommoir is a prequel of sorts. Nana appears here as a child, and later as a young woman, so you'll learn some of her back story. Zola deserves a much larger audience than he has, and his style is more readable than many would suspect. Choose this for a book club --especially one of women's interest-- and be prepared for it to knock your socks off in ways most modern novels can't touch.
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Posted March 7, 2010
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