In a dingy apartment on the Passage du Pont-Neuf in Paris, Thérèse Raquin is trapped in a loveless marriage to her sickly cousin, Camille. The numbing tedium of her life is suddenly shattered when she embarks on a turbulent affair with her husband’s earthy friend Laurent, but their animal passion for each other soon compels the lovers to commit a crime that will haunt them forever. Thérèse Raquin caused a scandal when it appeared in 1867 and brought its twenty-seven-year-old author a notoriety that followed him throughout his life. Zola’s novel is not only an uninhibited portrayal of adultery, madness, and ghostly revenge, but also a devastating exploration of the darkest aspects of human existence.
- Robin Buss’s translation superbly conveys Zola’s fearlessly honest and matter-of-fact style, combining fidelity to Zola’s idiosyncrasies with easy fluency in English
- Introduction discusses Zola’s life and literary career and the influence of art, literature, and science on his writing
- Includes the preface to the author’s second edition of 1868, chronology, suggestions for further reading, and notes