Book: Germinal by Emile Zola
#83 on the Telegraph’s 100 novels everyone should read.
What is the story about?
The story follows Etienne, a newcomer to a mining village who quickly got frustrated by the poverty and degrading standard of living that he started a strike, in the hopes of triggering, germinating, a revolution.
I get it. I get why this book is considered an important piece of work but to be honest, I didn’t enjoy reading this book at all.
First of all, I don’t like politics. To me there is no right or wrong sides as it is all dirty business. Everyone is in it for themselves and their personal gains. It’s all about the money and power and what you can achieve for yourself at the expense of other people. So I think its a bunch of crap when a politician comes out and says he is fighting for the people. And my point is even proven in this book.
Etienne, who was supposed to fight for the people, felt above them because he was “educated” and they weren’t. He dreamed of glory and furthering his popularity for his personal gains. Then when what he wanted didn’t happen, he felt disgusted by his followers.
As he puts it, he calls them “wretched people” who makes him feel “repugnance and unease.” He even calls them “dumb animals” who are “primitive and lack intelligence.” His selfishness is so annoying that when he goes down and checks the abandoned mines, every time he rejoices at a rock-fall I wished that a rock fall will crush him in.
The politics is all summed up by a ruthless but honest man in the book: “It’s all nonsense .. They’ll never get anywhere with that nonsense.”
So as you can see, I don’t really like politics.
And not just that. I love to read so I can have an hour or so after I put my four kids to sleep, in peace and quiet, and be transported into an imaginary world in literature.
I did not want to spend this quiet hour reading about a hopeless horse facing despair in his final second gasping for death before he died .. or about the starving death of a child .. or about the mutilation of a dead body.
If you want to read a political manifesto, a failed attempt of a revolution from comrades against bourgeoise, exploitation of all kind, a realistic depiction of the horrible life of miners .. then this book is for you.
If you are like me .. then I would skip it.
Next book: The Stranger by Albert Camus
Another book I know nothing about except that one of my Instagram followers said she did not enjoy it much, We’ll see how it goes.
Happy reading ❤