Emile Zola's `Therese Raquin' is a tale of obsession, paranoia, and narcisism. In modern parlance, this would be called a psychological drama. The tale relates a love triangle among the working poor in Paris in the 1860s. The title character, Therese, is unhappily married to Camille, a man whom she cannot stand and finds a bore. They live together in Paris with Camille's mother. Camille could be described as a mama's boy. A weekly get together with several local friends to play dominoes turns into a passionate affair between Therese and one of the friends, Laurent. Ultimately Laurent murders Camille (with Therese's support and blessing) and eventually takes his place as Therese's husband. Both Therese and Laurent become obsessed with their vile crime and feel the hot breath of Camille's spectre watching them at every turn. Their passion for each other eventually turns to rage, despair, and hate. There is almost no dialogue, virtually all of the text describes the thoughts, impulses, and emotions of the protagonists as they proceed from unbridled passion to rage, fear, and insanity. This work predates Zola's Rougon-Macquart series and is a good tale, if far below the level of the best of this series. Unlike Zola's best novels, this story offers the reader little insight into life in France prior to the destruction of the Second Empire. With very small tweaks, this tale could easily be set in New York City in the 21st century. Other reviewers state that this is a dark tale, which is true, although I think that this is often overstated. Zola certainly has a well earned reputation for writing dark novels, although I think that this is relative to a 19th century audience. Some of the subject matter on prime time TV in the US (like Law and Order SVU) makes this novel appear tame. This is definitely not a `feel-good' novel. Overall, this is a good, not great, novel. For someone approaching Zola for the first time, this would not be a bad place to start. A must read for any serious fan/student of Zola of course.