From the home of Stylist

FOUR REASONS WE LOVE L'ASSOMMOIR BY ÉMILE ZOLA

FOUR REASONS WE LOVE L'ASSOMOIR BY EMILE ZOLA

It’s a rollercoaster. L’Assommoir is the seventh, and most impressive, novel in Émile’s 20-volume Les Rougon-Macquart series. We follow the fierce Gervaise as she battles through love, marriage, divorce and the thankless task of managing her injured and alcohol-dependent husband, Coupeau.

Paris’ glitz is stripped away. Zola paints a raw, gritty and true picture of the underbelly of 19th-century Parisian life. There’s alcoholism, violence and poverty: these are people literally fighting to survive on the breadline. You won’t moan about the heating, or lack thereof, again.

Gervaise and Coupeau’s wedding party. It’s a chaotic itinerary, which involves trooping through the Musée du Louvre, a disorganised, alcohol-fuelled meal and then an argument over the bill. It’s a shambles, and Zola paints it masterfully.

It will make you reconsider alcohol and your relationship with it. It might have been first published in 1877, but L’Assommoir highlights how quickly booze can become a place to seek refuge. Put the glass down, ladies.

L’Assommoir by Émile Zola (Oxford World’s Classics, £8.99)

Comments

Log In

Please enter your details below, or

Forgotten your password?

Wait a second!

In order to view this content you must be an Emerald Street subscriber. Enter your details below or

Forgotten password?

Sign up

To sign up, please enter your email address below.

Make the most of Emerald Street

Thank you for signing up to Emerald Street. To ensure your daily emails are relevant to you and where you live and work, click below to complete your online profile.

Or automatically fill your details with Facebook

Complete my profile

This email address is already in our system

Please log in here Forgotten your password?

Please wait… logging in with Facebook.

Please wait… logging in with Facebook.

Please wait…

Please wait…

Like this article on Facebook

Please wait…

Please wait…