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The Kill

emile-zola-the-kill

Émile Zola continues his stories of the Rougon-Marquart clan with The Kill (La Curée), which tells the story of Aristide Rougon, who is introduced to readers in The Fortune of the Rougon-Marquart’s as a slothful (accent on full) son of the matriarch of this clan. Aristide changes his name to Saccard when the gets to Paris. He hits his well connected brother to get a cushy government job with loads of status. He’s disappointed at first with apparently low level job till he realizes that he will get all sorts of information on city plans that enable him to make real estate deals, quite questionably ethically ones, that will get him a fortune. Saccard is slimy for sure, but the house of cards he sets up is compelling. As a reader, I was just wondering when this all would fall.

Along with Saccard, his second wife Renée is equally questionable ethically. She’s materialistic, superficial, self absorbed and incapable of loyalty. The marriage was arranged to get Renée out of trouble. Her early life was pitiful, but by the time of the story she’s in control and for much of the story rather powerful and independent. Her undoing is her relationship with Saccard’s son.

The writing is beautiful and this portrait of a corrupt society feels real and moves quickly. It was fascinating to learn about the corrupt real estate market of 19th century France. Wall Street didn’t invent financial malfeasance..

 

 

 

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. The Coastal Crone
    Feb 09, 2017 @ 11:12:36

    I suppose greed will always be with us.

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  2. smkelly8
    Feb 09, 2017 @ 23:08:05

    It always has been, sadly. We sure don’t and won’t live in a perfect world. The story is well written and compelling though I didn’t like the characters, I wanted to know when everything would explode or implode. It doesn’t glamorize the greed, it just depicts it. Unfortunately, it could be a snapshot of some parts of our current society.

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