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The Kill (Oxford World's Classics) [Paperback]

Émile Zola , Brian Nelson
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
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Book Description

10 July 2008 Oxford World's Classics
'It was the time when the rush for spoils filled a corner of the forest with the yelping of hounds, the cracking of whips, the flaring of torches. The appetites let loose were satisfied at last, shamelessly, amid the sound of crumbling neighbourhoods and fortunes made in six months. The city had become an orgy of gold and women.'

The Kill (La Curée) is the second volume in Zola's great cycle of twenty novels, Les Rougon-Macquart, and the first to establish Paris - the capital of modernity - as the centre of Zola's narrative world. Conceived as a representation of the uncontrollable 'appetites' unleashed by the Second Empire (1852-70) and the transformation of the city by Baron Haussmann, the novel combines into a single, powerful vision the twin themes of lust for money and lust for pleasure. The all-pervading promiscuity of the new Paris is reflected in the dissolute and frenetic lives of an unscrupulous property speculator, Saccard, his neurotic wife Renée, and her dandified lover, Saccard's son Maxime.

ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; New Ed. / edition (10 July 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199536929
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199536924
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.5 x 19.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 93,791 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Nelson's translation is preceded by a highly useful and scrupulously researched introduction [with] a depth of analysis rarely found in introduction of this kind... The translation itself is sensitive and elegant...the text reads as an engaging and thoughtful close rereading of the original which is especially effective in bringing Zola's fascination with descriptive detail to the attention of the anglophone reader without syntactically overburdening the prose. (Hannah Thompson, Modern Languages Review vol 102, part1)

Émile Zola's (Illuminations)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of the early Zolas 23 Dec 2006
The second novel in Zola's Rougon-Macquart cycle, this is one of his best novels. Written in 1871 and published just after the fall of the Second Empire in France, "The Kill" shows that society at its decadent height. The action takes place in the playgrounds of the fabulously wealthy and tells the story of a woman driven into a scandalous affair by her oblivious husband's utter self-obsession and greed, set against the backdrop of Haussmann's massive redevelopment and the birth of modern Paris. This new translation is excellent, and represents the first new English edition for almost 110 years.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Second Empire Decadence: Use or be Used 7 Aug 2007
This new translation by Brian Nelson is excellent. He captures Zola's juxtaposition of intensely detailed descriptive passages with fast moving dialogue. The over wrought, MillsandBoonesque descriptions of hothouse l'amour are great fun. In this novel, sympathetic characters are hard to find. Apparently based on real individuals and events, Zola pulls no punches in his portrayl of greed and lust and how they impact upon the protagonists. The prosaic final two lines of the novel feel like a bucket of cold water dumped over the reader's head.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not for Everyone 30 April 2010
This is a book that gives us a detailed look into the lives of three rather dissipated characters: The elder Saccard, his second wife, Renee, and Maxime, a son borne of his first marriage. All three are competely unconscionable people but, due to the genius of Zola, there is, somehow, pathos in their positions. Saccard is a man who thinks of nothing but money (clearly seen in his actions duirng the death of his first wife) though the reader is made to feel sympathy for him when his empire begins to crumble and his business partners take advantage of the situation. Maxime is a cad of the first order but little else could really have been expected of a man who from his youth was 'Renee's plaything'. Renee is a character simply searching for affection amid the falseness of Parisian high society.
La Curée is an excellent example of the realist/naturalist style, however, this is not for everyone and some may find certain section pertaining to social convenitons of the time rather dull. The beauty of the writing is, however, for all to enjoy.

P.S. Fred "the shred" Goodwin and his brethren should have checked out the bits about reckless speculation - most informative
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Kill by Emile Zola 26 April 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book a great deal. This is the second part of the infamous Rougon-Macquart cycle of twenty volumes by Emile Zola, and follows on from ‘The Fortune of the Rougons’.

For a relatively short book of 260 pages this took me an inordinate amount of time to read. I kind of lost my way at the midpoint and didn’t get back to it for a few months. That is not to suggest that this was the fault of the book though. I gave this book four stars out of five despite the high quality, since I know that other books in this cycle are even better.

The writing was technically very proficient, as one might expect, and the descriptive passages evocative of everything one imagines of Paris of this period.

It was an interesting insight into the influence of Haussmann on the architecture of, and ultimately, the face of the future Paris.

The power of this book, I believe, is the authors ability to bring to life the hedonistic lifestyle followed by many Parisians, and the debauchery that prevailed at the time. He combined this with an exploration of the underbelly of Paris and the corruption associated with the development and rebuilding of the city.

I enjoyed the character development, which was superb, along with the relationships of Renee with her husband, Sacard and his son, her lover, Maxime. The characters were interesting and fully formed. I liked the numerous small links to the family history, as this both tied the story in with the previous volume and set the stage for future volumes.

I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in Paris of this period, due to the dearth of information that can be gleaned from it, or those interested in classic French literature. It was a fantastic account of the period, and an excellent read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Zola completist 15 Jan 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'm reading everything by Emile Zola, a great French writer. Everybody should read him, he's the best, better than Balzac
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