2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Zola tackles the theme of Faith,
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This review is from: The Three Cities Trilogy, Complete Lourdes, Rome and Paris (Kindle Edition)
Zola's brilliancy and genius shine through this work of three novels rotating around the theme of faith essentially, but also addressing superstition, dogmas, the role of the establishment, the necessity of differentiating between and keeping apart doctrines of faith and political ideologies, social justice, and charity. The protagonist is the priest Pierre Froment, who goes to Lourdes hoping to regain his faith, realises in his own self a need for a new kind of religion to fit with the modern world of justice and equality, his hopes of converting the catholic establishment to his naive way of thinking falling miserably, when he then realises that social injustice is at the core of all malaise in society, and sets to formulate his vision and the way forward to a happier, more just and more fulfilled life for everyone. Through the three novels, the notions of the need for faith, the suffering in the world, the charitable acts for the sake of justifying being more fortunate than others, the politicising of social issues, the cause for anarchistic movements, the need to love and cherish others, are all discussed. Zola prepares the ground for his next series of Fecondity, Work and Truth, where he sets his model world. Unfortunately he did not live long enough to write the fourth book Justice. The story telling and the characters in the novels Lourdes, Rome and finally Paris are well woven and intricate, and they give a historical overview and an insight into life in France and the rest of Europe towards the end of the nineteenth century. The novels are a page turner, with the exception of the beginning of Rome which can be too dogmatic and tedious.
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