Sunday, June 24, 2007

Zola, wet petals, parrot

As I draw near to the end of L'Assommoir, I realize that it will be the fifth of Zola's novels that I have read in the last year or so. What I have most enjoyed is discovering these books for myself. Most of the books I have read have been recommended by parents or teachers or reviewers. I have read very little about Zola. It is true that when I was at school someone recommended Germinal, but I was put off reading it by the impression, quite false as it turned out, that it might be a didactic piece of work, almost a socialist tract. Twenty novels in the Rougon-Maquart series are listed at the back of the Folio Classique edition, plus three more. I am so enthralled at the moment that I have my sights set on all of them. What I am discovering about Rougon-Maquart is that Zola placed relations or other connection with the family of this name in all the books. Sometimes it seems the connection is quite loose, and you certainly don't have to read the books in any particulal order. For me, a newcomer, it came as a pleasant surprise, to see Nana, the central character of the eponymous Nana, appear as a child in L'Assommoir. Having read Nana first, I say to myself: "that explains a lot".

Petals of the dark red petunias in various pots in the garden , shine in the rain, like highly polished metal.

In the street I hear a loud squawk. I look up. There, in a window, sits a parrot on a perch.

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