Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Brona’s Salon: Zola’s “Money”

This is my second participation in Brona’s Salon. It’s a new meme which aims to gather a group of like-minded bookish people 'under the roof of an inspiring host, held partly to amuse one another and partly to refine the taste and increase the knowledge of the participants through conversation.'

So, here’s mine…

What are your currently reading?

Money by Émile Zola

How did you find out about this book?

I have become a hardcore fan of Zola right after reading Therese Raquin, back in 2011. Naturally I then searched for more of his books. And how delighted was I when being introduced to the Rougon-Maquart series with 20 books. 20, yay! Money is the 18th book of the series.

Why are you reading it now?

My first reading from Rougon-Maquart is L’Assommoir. I picked Oxford World Classics (OWC) edition, and was very satisfied with the translation. Plus OWC uses lovely paintings for its cover, and I love it! So, I decided to read the series from OWC edition in random order. Money is one of the latest being published, and I am also reading it for The Classic Club challenge.

 First impressions? 

It will be slightly boring because of its financial theme. But, knowing Zola and his story-telling talent, I still had hope.

Which character do you relate to so far?

Madame Caroline. She is a trusted friend and also mistress of Saccard (born Aristide Rougon—from The Kill). Madam Caroline is a sensible and self-esteemed woman. She admires Saccard’s ambition to “conquer financial world”, but does not let passion overcome her conscience. She seems to know what must be done, and although disagrees with Saccard, she keeps protecting him from scandals. Though she is broken-hearted over Saccard’s affair, she still befriends him.

Are you happy to continue?

Of course! It has been a pleasant reading, although I’m not very familiar with the stock exchange terms and system.  

Where do you think the story will go? 

I am only 100s pages left to end, so it’s quite obvious about how Saccard’s condition would be. But I am really curious about how Madam Caroline would react.

So, have you read this book?


  1. I'm so envious that you have read so many Zola!
    I hope to follow your fine example one day.
    I also like the OWC - their translators have been good to date as well.

    Do you think you will reread them all one day in chronological order?

    1. I'm sure I will. Right now I read out of curiosity and pleasure. I haven't analyze much about what Zola has intended by writing the series. So perhaps one day, after completing the series, I would reread them in chronological order. Maybe then I would appreciate more of his genius.

  2. Halo mba Fanda, apa kabar?

    Blognya keren loh 😊

    1. Halo mbak Elly... lama nggak ketemu! Kabar baik nih :)

  3. Well, you know it is bc you and o that I got into Zola. This one you are reading reminds me of The Belly of Paris, where Zola took a theme or topic and developed a story around it. I am half way through, but it really dragged on about food so badly that I had to stop. I plan to go back to it, and maybe before the end of this year. I hate to leave books unfinished. But I can see me having the same difficulty with Money.

    1. The Belly of Paris makes me disgusted sometimes, but the trick is not reading it (especially when it is dragging on about various cheeses or black pudding) right after meals! But you must admit that the way he's writing it is kind of poetic. My favourite is the fruit or vegetables parts. If you like Zola themed stories, The Ladies' Paradise is much better. Besides dragging on about clothes, the story is really nice.

  4. Therese Raquin was my introduction to Zola, too, and I would love to read the entire Rougon-Maquart series one day. I've also enjoyed The Ladies' Paradise and participated in a Germinal readalong earlier this year. What an amazing reading experience that was! You are right - Zola was quite storyteller!

    1. Hi JoAnn... yeah, The Ladies' Paradise & Germinal are my favorites too. Ladies' is perhaps the "sweetest' of the series, at least from what I have read so far.

      It's always a pleasure to meet someone who loves Zola. I think his works have been underrated among our classics. Maybe because of the blunt way he's telling the stories that makes us unconfortable. Dumas, for example, is a great storyteller too, but once you read the stories, there's nothing more left. But with Zola, you can always find layers of truth or untold perspective he'd wanted to tell under the stories.

  5. I find that everyone who reads Zola absolutely loves him. But I don't think I have ever heard of him in relation to the canon. Am I wrong? If he isn't part of the literary canon, can someone shed some light on as to why?

    I have read a short story called "The Flood" by Zola. It was beautiful and truthful and...heart-breaking.

    I don't think I'll be reading any more Zola.

    1. I'm not too familiar with the canon. But Zola is, I believe, the most associated with naturalism genre among his contemporaries. Especially with his Rougon-Macquart series.


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