November’s Autumn Classics Challenge

It’s months since I’ve read anything for this challenge, you can have a look at the July Prompt here.

So, which book has left a Lasting Impression?

For me that has to be Germinal by Emile Zola. I must admit that I read it a while ago, you can read my review of it here.

It isn’t a comfortable read and that’s probably one of the reasons that bits of it are still so clear in my mind. It’s about unemployment and people who are starving, rich people exploiting the poor and the terrible working conditions down mines which had to be endured, just to try to stay alive.

More than a hundred years on, the same problems are still with us. In the case of the men who are mining, they are still being buried alive and killed by roof collapses or explosions. If anything the conditions are even worse down the mines nowadays as machinery is used, so the noise and heat of that is added to what was already a hellish environment.

Remember the miners when you buy some silver/gold jewellery or a diamond ring. Some poor soul had to risk their life to dig it out of the earth for you. If, like me you’re squeamish about that thought, the only way you can get around it is to forego the bling or buy the antique variety. Then you aren’t propping up (no pun intended!) the modern mining industries.

10 thoughts on “November’s Autumn Classics Challenge

  1. I was briefly a French major in college, and I must have read something of Zola, but I had no memory of it. I’m looking forward to trying him again – keeping in mind that his books don’t seem to be light reading.

    • Lisa,
      I was surprised that Germinal was really a smooth and not too heavy read. Especially considering it’s obviously a translation. I hope to read more of his books, eventually.

  2. Thank you for reminding me about the plight of miners. It is much too easy to ignore the conditions they work in unfortunately.
    I have heard so many wonderful things about Zola – I must get to him soon.

    • Anbolyn,
      Oh dear, I’ve not been making you laugh recently – must do better!
      The subject matter of Germinal makes it sound like it’ll be really depressing, but somehow it wasn’t. I’ve been meaning to read more of his books for ages, but you know what it’s like!

  3. I’m glad to hear this has left such an impression, as I’m hoping to read it myself soon. I read Zola’s Therese Raquin last year and was very impressed, so I’ve been looking forward to trying more of his work.

    • Helen,
      I read Therese Raquin after Germinal. I didn’t enjoy it as much but that was probably because I didn’t really like Therese. I hope to read more by Zola too.

  4. I agree, I didn’t care for Therese as much as Germinal. The characters in Germinal are also not that admirable but the story is so compelling. I’ve finished six books by Zola so far and Germinal is still my favorite.

  5. When I start reading Zola’s works I think Germinal will be the first. I know very little of the author but am intrigued by your description of him as a kind of French Dickens. 🙂
    Thanks for participating, Katrina!

    • Katherine,
      Thanks for organising it all. I’m enjoying November’s Autumn although I came to a bit of a halt for a while – classic reading-wise! I’m back on course now I think.

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