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Editorial Reviews

Emile Zola was a master of naturalism, a 19th-century literary movement that used realism to show how people are affected by class and other social conditions. His novel Nana was derived from this approach and was a cultural phenomenon when first published, in 1880.
The product of Paris’ slums, Nana Coupeau goes from a young prostitute to a showgirl. All the while, she seduces men and eventually destroys them. Throughout the story, Zola asks whether Nana is a cold-blooded user of these men or the one being exploited.
Walter Zimmerman’s mid-Atlantic English and dry delivery, similar to a radio news anchor, suits this anthropological study of a woman of "ill repute".
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Publisher's Summary

Emile Zola, along with fellow novelists Honoré de Balzac and Gustave Flaubert, was an early realist in French literature. In novels such as Flaubert's Madame Bovary and Zola's Nana, sex and violence were examined with vivid clarity. These realists soon adopted the word naturalism to describe their writings. Zola's novels were attacked and even banned for their frankness and sordid detail, causing quite a bit of controversy in their day, with their strong emphasis on the unpleasant and unglamorous side of life. The underbelly of 19th century life was a theme for several of its authors, notably Dickens in English. Because of its film versions (which are considerably toned down) and its controversial subject matter, Nana is Zola's best known novel. It is the story of a prostitute in Paris just before the Franco-Prussian War of 1870.
©1987 Jimcin Recordings
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Robert W. on 01-01-10

A classic

It's a pity people who are just trolling for a page turner sometimes rent books they can't handle. Perhaps the bad reviewers of this book should stick to bestsellers. This is a magnificent book and extremely well read. It may not be to everyone's taste but it is fascinating and intricate. Besides giving you a slice of Second Empire Paris and its night life, it has characters you care about, and makes you want to know what happens next, which are my two measures of a good story.

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24 of 25 people found this review helpful

By Richard on 10-20-10

No no

What a disappointment. The narrator is reading the book, and not acting. there is no change in his inflections or accents as he changes characters and I nearly fell asleep several times. Yawn. I gave up after chapter 5 so this is not a reflection on the book, only upon this presentation.

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8 of 15 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Damian on 03-01-09


I too found that the narration a little jarring at first, but as I became accustomed to it, I got over it. Overall, this is an excellent rendering of the work of a writer who is too often overlooked in the English-speaking world (I find it incredible that many of his novels are out of print in English).

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

By Ekaterina on 11-16-07

Reading is not that great

I was not very happy with Walter Zimmerman reading. It was not dramatised enough and accents were made on wrong parts of the sentence, which would make me loose the thought of the author before I would manage to realise that the sentence could have been read differently.
It is a brilliant and very moving story, that evokes deep feelings and makes you think. It even made me cry once.

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4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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