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Thérèse Raquin

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Therese Raquin is a clinically observed, sinister tale of adultery and murder among the lower orders in nineteenth-century Paris. Zola's dispassionate dissection of the motivations of his characters, mere 'human beasts' who kill in order to satisfy their lust, is much more than an atmospheric Second Empire period-piece. Therese Raquin stands as a key early manifesto of the French Naturalist movement, of which Zola was the founding father. Even today, this novel has lost none of its power to shock.

Therese Raquin is bored by her loveless marriage to her sickly cousin, and allows herself to be swept away by lust and excitement when she meets his earthy and sensual friend Laurent. But the animal passion between them will result in a terrible crime - one that will haunt them for ever.

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