Therese Raquin – reviewed by Korneeva Svetlana

Therese Raquin

by Emile Zola

Reviewed by Korneeva Svetlana – from Russia

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Therese Raquin by Emile Zola has become one of my favourite books for many reasons. I love Zola as a writer. I have read lots of Zola’s books in Russian, so it was interesting for me to reread this book in English.

Therese Raquin is a story about adultery, crime and mystery. The novel describes how people’s lives can change when they love the wrong person. The main character in this book is Therese. She is a passionate young woman who lives with her aunt and her cousin Camille. One day she and her cousin get married although they don’t love each other. Therese has a very dull life until she meets Laurent, a friend of Camille. He is strong, energetic and full of life. They fall in love with each other. Their strong feelings make them mad and as a result they commit a terrible crime which eventually turns their life into a living hell.

This book has made an unforgettable impression on me because I have never read about such passionate love before. To tell the truth, while reading this book, I felt as if I was Therese myself and I experienced the same emotions. In some way I think she is similar to me that is why I really love this novel.

My favourite part of the book is the last chapter, in which a double suicide of the murderers takes place. Finally, Therese and Laurent come to realise their guilt. They find life intolerable because their guilty conscience tortures their souls. For some time they try to improve their lives. However, in the end Therese and Laurent realize that they can’t go through this and they commit suicide. I think it’s a remarkable scene.

On the whole, the novel shows us how people become blind when they want something very much and how they feel sorry about their mistakes. I believe that Emile Zola is one of the best novel writers. When he only began his career as a writer, the majority of people were shocked by his novels because he told the readers the truth about people’s lives and their feelings. I suppose that we shouldn’t be ashamed of our true feelings and views.

I will recommend this novel to anyone because it is both truthful and mysterious. This is a kind of book you will want to read more than once. Times change but people’s characters don’t; that’s why this novel is still popular today. All in all, the book is really worth reading.