A very interesting, but little known, novel. It was scandalous during its original publication, but now its just an interesting story about love & people's inner motivations.
Dark, creepy, intense, disgusting...I like. If you want a classic read with adultery, murder, and corpses, try this one. Two desperate, adulterous individuals murder the one person that stands between them. Instead of finding happiness, the couple is haunted by insane terror. The book reads like a ghost story, although by 19th century standards it was labeled a "psychological study." Also, considering that it was written in the 1860's, it is rather explicit and graphic in some places. One thing that annoyed me was that, due to the translation, some words are repeated over and over (because many French words have only one English equivalent). Also, sometimes the changing tenses are hard to follow, as is the chronology of the flashbacks. Nevertheless, I agree with the blurb on the back cover: "This book has lost none of its power to shock!"
Lurid crime tale from 1867. The influence of Edgar Allen Poe suffuses the whole story, and reads very similar to an EAP story, though the writing style is very different. Footnote states Chas Baudelaire translated Poe into French from 1848-65 (not the first translation but became the standard) and:"The American writer became even more popular in France than in his own country." Which brings us back to our country. Robin Buss, our translator, states in his intro the earliest English version of "TR" he knows of is an American edition from 1881, and the first UK ed was in 1886. James M. Cain was born in 1892 and graduated college in 1910. Like Chandler, he was more educated and had much superior literary background than most people writing in his field. He wrote the two all time greatest lethal-trio stories ever (ok that is just my opinion but if anyone knows a better one please let me know): "The Postman Always Rings Twice" (1934) and "Double Indemnity" (1936). Looking back on those two, JMC definitely seems to have known "TR". Buss writes in his intro: "One drawback is the relative poverty of the vocabulary which Zola has at his disposal to describe the psychological state of the three main protagonists..." and..."It is a vocabulary mainly drawn from the language of sensational fiction..." Later: "It stands, too, as a bridge between the Gothic novel and the modern psychological thriller..." Personally enjoyed "TR" on it's own terms and if you like this type of story, recommend you check it out. TPB