Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Paris in July 2018 - Nana by Èmile Zola

I have had a visitor all the way from Australia, so I have been quite busy the last week. Therefor not too much blogging about Paris in July lately. However, I wanted to share with you, my experience of reading Nana. The title might be a little bit misguiding, because it reads like I have actually read the book. Well, I have not. I tried to read it for last years' Paris in July and once again this year. I just can't get through it.

I remember part of the plot, since I saw it as a tv-series when I was a teenager. It somehow stayed with me, especially the part (SPOILER ALERT) in the end where Nana gets smallpox and her career is over. I have recently read Thérèse Raquin by Zola and I liked it very much, but I just don't seem to be able to get through Nana. A few thoughts about why I am not able to get through it.

Zola was much into realism. In György Lukács' essay Realism in the Balance he speaks about the objects that only live "in connection with human destinies". He says that Zola, uses the objects as a "complex of facts" and make them into the middle point, different descriptions of the theatre, the room, the dinner etc. Lukács compares them with a painting. Like a painting they hang side by side in a gallery. The objects of the novel becomes a loose thread and does not connect the story. Luckács means that this is typical for naturalismen and Zola. Especially with Zola, naturalismen tips over into symbolism.

I did not find that troublesome in Thérèse Raquin, but I find it troublesome in Nana. There are so many descriptions of objects around the persons, AND, there are so many different people. I am not able to separate them, or remember who they are. Maybe this is just a problem in the beginning of the book, because honestly, I have only reached a little bit into the book.

But, as they say: 'So many books, so little time' and therefore I decided not to continue with the book for the time being. I have other books waiting for me.

1 comment:

  1. This was my first Zola, but not my favourite. It was an unpleasant society full of unpleasant characters. I had a lot of trouble remembering who was who.
    My review is here if you think it might help :-)