Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Savage Paris - Emile Zola (Elek Books Ltd, 1955)

What a cover. The artist is uncredited, sadly, but the figure depicted seems to represent a certain breed of outsider...bookish, effete...a brother of Joris-Karl Huysmans' creation, Jean Des Esseintes, perhaps. Reading the blurb inside, however, I see that the central character is an ex-political prisoner, therefore not the type to stay in all day contemplating the quality of his wallpaper. 

Originally published as Le Ventre de Paris in 1873, it's also known as The Belly of Paris in later English translations.

I haven't read Emile Zola since the early-80s when, being a socialist, Germinal seemed like required reading because it was about a miners' strike. My girlfriend at the time was a big fan and even quoted from Thérèse Raquin in her letters, which was either pretentious, or romantic...probably both. Well, I no doubt quoted Kerouac. Seeing a book by Zola always reminds me of her....another lover lost to time...

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