Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Image not available

Tell the Publisher!
I’d like to read this book on Kindle

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

Pot Luck (Pot-Bouille) (Oxford World's Classics) [Paperback]

Émile Zola , Brian Nelson
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

Available from these sellers.


Amazon Price New from Used from
Paperback £6.99  
Paperback, 21 Jan 1999 --  

Book Description

21 Jan 1999 Oxford World's Classics
This new translation of Zola's most acerbic social satire captures the directness and robustness of Zola's language and restores the omissions of earlier abridged versions.

Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks; New edition edition (21 Jan 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192831798
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192831798
  • Product Dimensions: 19.2 x 12.8 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,184,356 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
IN the Rue Neuve-Saint-Augustin, a hold-up in the traffic stopped the cab which was bringing Octave and his three trunks from the Gare de Lyon. Read the first page
Explore More
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

Sell a Digital Version of This Book in the Kindle Store

If you are a publisher or author and hold the digital rights to a book, you can sell a digital version of it in our Kindle Store. Learn more

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

4 star
2 star
1 star
4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent - a sparkling comic tragedy 31 Aug 1999
By A Customer
I wonder why this book is not more famous - or perhaps it is this new translation which made it such an enjoyable read. If you like Zola, all the traditional elements of poverty and Paris are included, but the wry comedic aspect is quite new. Many chapters of this book could stand in their own right as short stories, and the narrative drive is quite exceptional. The contrast between light comedy and dark tragedy is extreme.
Read before the inevitable BBC Sunday Afternoon serial!
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A melting pot of moral laxity 3 Sep 2010
Warning: this review contains spoilers.

The translator tells us that the French title 'Pot-Bouille' is virtually untranslatable. He has opted for the English 'Pot Luck', but 'Melting Pot' would serve just as well.

The novel centres on the lives of the inhabitants, masters and servants, of an apartment building in late 19th century Paris. The masters living lives of genteel poverty, with no moral values; greedy and grasping, condoning sexual laxity, tolerating the presence of live-in lovers. Some of them are blighted by illness, real or imagined - migraines or debilitation - which I assume the author intends us to think are probably caused by venereal infections.

As so often with Zola, his characters do not hold conversations: they rant and rail. Madame Josserand's dialogue is inevitably followed by 'she shrieked' or 'she shouted'; rarely, 'she said'.

Parallel to the lives of the masters are the doings of their servants who are observed in two ways; individually, in their respective employers' households and, collectively, as they exchange badinage and insults across the communal courtyard, at maximum decibel level, of course.

There are moments of comedy, which I don't usually associate with Zola. During a wedding service, the congregation and priest are distracted by a disturbance in a side chapel where Théophile accuses Octave of impropriety with his wife. The scene where Auguste looks for a second for a duel is also amusing.

Towards the end of the novel a powerful episode occurs where Zola describes a woman giving birth alone in her room. This is harrowing stuff, extremely well done. It gives the reader such a jolt as it is totally out of step with the tone of the rest of the novel and what has gone before.

This is a energetic, lively, raucous, entertaining novel. Not top rank Zola, nothing special, but a good read nonetheless.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hugely Enjoyable 11 May 2009
One of Zola's most accessible novels and a joy to read. Brian Nelson's translation is excellent, though he should have left the title as 'Pot Bouille' as 'Pot luck' is slightly misleading.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions

Look for similar items by category