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by Emile Zola, Trans. By Havelock Ellis
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This sometimes depressing novel about late-nineteenth-century labor problems in France focuses on the coal mineÐa life of dangerous work, starvation wages, impoverished futures. A newcomer to the labor force attempts improvement through worker resistance, including a strike with unforseen and tragic consequences. Few readers of audiobooks can match Frederick Davidson's remarkable skill, and he needs all of it to cope with French pronunciations and divergent conversations, which require him to distinguish among many characters. Happily, he's equal to the task, rendering this complex, yet worthwhile, novel accessible to all listeners. T.H. (c)AudioFile, Portland, Maine
The thirteenth novel in Émile Zolas great Rougon-Macquart sequence, Germinal expresses outrage at the exploitation of the many by the few, but also shows humanitys capacity for compassion and hope.
Etienne Lantier, an unemployed railway worker, is a clever but uneducated young man with a dangerous temper. Forced to take a back-breaking job at Le Voreux mine when he cannot get other work, he discovers that his fellow miners are ill, hungry, and in debt, unable to feed and clothe their families. When conditions in the mining community deteriorate even further, Lantier finds himself leading a strike that could mean starvation or salvation for all.
From the Hardcover edition.
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