Thérèse Raquin

Naxos. Mar. 2022. tr. from French by Henry Vizetelly. 8:36 hrs. ISBN 9781781983997. $25. F
At the time it was first published in 1867, Zola’s novel of adultery and murder was considered most scandalous. Zola was the founder of the French Naturalist Movement, which aimed at a more literal adaptation of realism and presented life events without artifice and moral judgment. The protagonist Thérèse Raquin leads a depressing existence above a dark and dingy haberdashery shop that she shares with her cousin/husband Camille and his overly protective mother, Madame Raquin. An affair with her husband’s friend, Laurent, brings unexpected passion and excitement. When the two lovers go to grisly lengths to be together, they discover that the consequences of their actions are not what they expected. Narrator Juliet Stevenson’s pitch-perfect presentation is both riveting and mesmerizing. Her precise and expressive diction illuminates the shadowy setting and evokes the appropriate emotions of the characters, despite limited dialogue.
VERDICT A darkly gothic tale that is very accessible to modern audiences and presents a rewarding listening experience. An excellent addition to any classic audio collection.
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