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The Attack on the Mill and Other Stories (Oxford World's Classics) [Paperback]

Emile Zola , Douglas Parmee
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

4 Nov 1999 Oxford World's Classics
This is a reissue of the previous World's Classics edition in the new larger format, and with the series name changed to 'Oxford World's Classics'.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 386 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks; New edition edition (4 Nov 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192836617
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192836618
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 13 x 1.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,840,120 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This selection from Zola's large repertoire of short stories captures many facets of late nineteenth century French society. They are an excellent introduction to this writer's work and should tempt the beginner into tackling the vaster canvasses of the Rougon-Macquart series. Zola writes convincingly about many layers of society, from the bored aristocrats, the petit bourgeosie to the peasants and artisans. He also lavishes his descriptions of both town and countryside, with mouth watering word pictures that make you want to rush for the Eurostar! Many of them are similar in style and power to Maupassant - punchy and often savagely ironical (The Story of a Madman, for example). But the more substantial stories blend a powerful narrative, lyrical descriptions and real "bite" to make this a memorable read. "Shellfish for Monsieur Chabre" has a predictable plot but Zola draws out the burgeoning romance at the heart of the story in order to develop the lovers' appreciation of the beauty of the coastal resort - all which passes over the head of the tedious and unresponsive cuckholded Monsieur Chabre. "Fair Exchange" - the other gem in this collection - shows by degrees how the apparently unprepossessing Adele comes to dominate her artistically superior but morally inferior husband. Zola's insights into the artistic community of late nineteenth century France are penetrating and convincing.
The translation does full justice to the flamboyance and earthiness of Zola's prose. This is an highly recommended collection of vivid, lyrical and sensual vignettes.
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5.0 out of 5 stars little stories 21 Aug 2012
By flo
A bit of everything in this book, anyone will find a story that he/she like!
Note: the translation, for what it's worth seems pretty good.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great stories from a master storyteller 27 Sep 2000
By F. Orion Pozo - Published on Amazon.com
Zola is my favorite author and this is a wonderful selection of his short stories. Recently translated by Douglas Parmee, these stories were originally published between 1864 and 1899, spanning most of Zola's writing career. Arranged chronologically. you can see the author's style develop as you move from one story to the next. A great introduction to Zola's writings! The stories: The Girl Who Loves Me - A great description of a carnival sideshow's effects on a lonely young man. Rentafoil - An amusing satire on society's attempts to package and sell beauty. Story of a Madman - A woman and her lover plot to put her husband in an asylum. Big Michu - Boarding school students organize a hunger strike and a simple peasant's son takes the blame. The Attack on the Mill - The German Army occupies a French village and a young woman is forced to decide between the lives of her father and her lover - a wonderful love story. Captain Burle - A French officer embezzles funds to support his mistresses. The Way People Die - A series of brief tales showing death in different social settings. Coqueville on a Spree - Two feuding families in a small town resolve their differences in a most unusual way. A Flash in the Pan - Love between the classes is thwarted when a peasant girl falls in love with the son of a well-to-do lawyer, but her jealous father gets in the way. Dead Men Tell No Tales - A dead man tells his tale. Shellfish for Monsieur Chabre - A young woman has an affair while her aging husband gobbles shellfish to increase his virility. Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder - An exiled revolutionary given up for dead returns to France searching for his wife and daughter. Priests and Sinners - Like The Way People Die, this is a series of short sketches; this time dealing with the relationship between priests and people who are thought of as sinners. Fair Exchange - An excellent portrayal of the evolving power relationships in the long-term intimate relationship between a husband and wife. The Haunted House - A haunting story about how rumor can color our perception of reality for the worse. Seven pages of Explanatory Notes by the Translator, are very helpful in bringing these tales to the modern English reader.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars There's some great movies hiding in this book. 25 Feb 2005
By Dymon Enlow - Published on Amazon.com
Emile Zola is one of the greatest writers of all time. His novels "Germinal" and "L`Assommoir" easily place in my List of Top 10 Novels. "The Attack on the Mill and Other Stories" is an impressive collection of short stories spanning Zola's career. The thing I found most surprising is how funny Zola could be! All of the novels I've read have been dark and depressing, but the story "Rentafoil" was absolutely hilarious. Another thing that struck me was how some of these stories ("A Flash in the Pan", Coqueville on the Spree" and "Rentafoil") would make great movies.

"The Girl Who Loves Me" 3.5/5 A guy finds "love" at a fairgrounds

"Rentafoil" 5/5 Side splitting story about a business that rents out ugly girls to decent looking girls so they can go out in public together.

"Death by Advertising" 4.5/5 Humorous story about a guy who believes everything he reads in ads.

"Story of a Madman" 3/5 Wife drives husband nuts.

"Big Michu" 3.5/5 Revolt at a boy's school.

"The Attack on the Mill" 5/5 Classic Zola. Just read it. Best story in the collection.

"Captain Burle" 3.5/5 Captain Burle is a lazy ol' sod.

"The Way People Die" 5/5 Just what the title says. Sad.

"Coqueville on the Spree" 5/5 Residents of a remote coastal village put their differences aside when something special washes up on shore. Very funny.

"A Flash in the Pan" 5/5 Could easily be made into a very erotic movie. Hot.

"Dead Men Tell No Tales" 5/5 Who knew Zola wrote horror? Very uncomfortable and disturbing story. I had a hard time reading it.

"Shellfish for Monsieur Chabre" 4/5 Funny story about a twit who doesn't notice what his sexy young wife is doing.

"Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder" 2.5/5 Long slow story about a guy who is thought to be dead, but isn't. Way too long.

"Priest and Sinners" 4/5 Obviously Zola didn't care much for priests.

"Fair Exchange" 2/5 Boring story about a talented but drunk painter who marries an ugly woman. Skip it.

"The Haunted House" 2.5/5 Lame. A guy investigates a haunted house. Very weak. Skip it also.
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