Read Nana by Émile Zola Luc Sante Online


Nana, by Emile Zola, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras.In Nana, the characters are a prostitute, who rises from the streets to become what Zola calls a “high-class cocotte,” and the meNana, by Emile Zola, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras.In Nana, the characters are a prostitute, who rises from the streets to become what Zola calls a “high-class cocotte,” and the men—and women—whom she loves, betrays, and destroys. Among the novel’s many ironies is the mutual envy felt by Nana and those around her. She yearns for their material possessions, while they admire her apparent independence and sexual self-confidence. And despite the chaos Nana causes, Zola imagines her as being essentially “good-natured,” a stupid, vain but beautiful creature who can’t help drawing people into her web.Not surprisingly, Nana’s portrait of a decadent world in which a prostitute amasses great wealth and power provoked protests from “polite society,” and it became one of Zola’s most controversial works. Today it is regarded as his masterpiece.Luc Sante is the author of Low Life, Evidence, and The Factory of Facts and coeditor, with Melissa Holbrook Pierson, of O.K. You Mugs: Writers on Movie Actors....

Title : Nana
Author :
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ISBN : 9781411432741
Format Type : ebook
Number of Pages : 427 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Nana Reviews

  • Lisa
    2019-03-28 14:21

    "Everything in the world is about sex except sex. Sex is about power." (Oscar Wilde) Had Nana been a child of today, forced to grow up in the social circumstances of her parents' poverty, violence and alcoholism in the depressing Parisian Goutte d'Or, she would have been moved to a foster family, and sent to family therapy with her brothers. But Nana was born in 1851, according to the plot of L'Assommoir (The Dram Shop) which covers her mother's story. And she learned how to play the underworld game early, left to fend for herself, and with a strong will to succeed and exert power.Blame her if you dare for the life she chose. Blame her if you dare for the lovers she humiliated. Blame her if you dare for the money she wanted and the pain she caused. If she grew up today, she would be a victim from the beginning, entitled to support and pity. In 19th century Paris, she had nothing but what she managed to grab for herself. Cold and manipulative? Yes! But how could she be otherwise, growing up as a child in the abusive home of Gervaise and Coupeau? She had no education to speak of, no social standing, no caring and loving childhood memories, no role models except for the hypocritical Paris society she saw - which was ruled by the sexual desires of men. She never had a chance to enter the official world, and had to provide for herself.Having said that, Nana is a monstrously self-centred, needy character, and she leaves a trail of broken characters in her professional development as a prostitute. She is daring, energetic, intelligent (but without finesse), superficial and vicious. Nana is the perfect incarnation of the corrupt whore, a child of poverty with conservative taste and values, acquired by copying the men who fall for her sexual power. Living apart from so-called respectable society, she nevertheless cultivates aristocratic opinions and traditional artistic and literary taste. She would not have approved of the realistic descriptions in Zola's novels, leaving no space for romantic dreaming and escapism. Opportunistic and egotistical at heart, her only true desire is control. A modern psychologist would probably see that as a result of her insecure childhood. Nana herself has no need for explanations. She lives for herself. Period.I read Zola's novel when I spent a summer working in Paris, just at the time when I had left childhood behind but was still too young to understand the limitations of my knowledge and experience. Smiling condescendingly at teenagers, I was barely twenty-two myself, and Nana shook my world. After I had finished the novel, Paris looked, smelled and tasted differently. Layers and layers of hidden life, of secret suffering and vice, seemed to appear overnight. I was in Paris because I loved art and literature, and wanted to make that my profession at some point. Reading Nana made me see the other side of the beautiful medal of artistic achievement: my idealism gave way to a deep crush on the marginalised characters lurking in the side lanes of the big official literary avenues. I still think of Nana each time I visit Paris, just like I think of Oliver Twist whenever I am in London. That was also the summer that I discovered Manet for the first time, and I remember a trip to Hamburger Kunsthalle afterwards with the sole aim to see his interpretation of Nana, the confident queen of prostitutes, painted three years before Zola published his novel:My inner picture of Nana remains exactly like that, even though I also vividly remember her brutal, ugly end almost two decades after closing the novel with a sigh of relief and fascination. She dies like most literary sinners: a presumably well-deserved moral vengeance on her physical appearance and appetites. And Zola, the master of realism, lets the appalled reader see each step in the process when Nana's face is slowly destroyed by pockmarks, visualised in extreme contrast to the still beautiful frame of her lovely hair: "La Vénus se décomposait."The decomposing Venus is a pretty accurate summary of the novel as a whole, puncturing the romantic notion of a sweet and tender prostitute out of sheer necessity. The decomposing hypocritical society goes along with it, illustrating the random roles people play, depending on their social and marital status. What remains?The brutal reality of a life lived in a balance between sex and power, fear and domination.A powerfully brutal tale!

  • David
    2019-04-13 08:58

    Here's why Nana should never be made into a movie... (Too late. It already has been. Four times.) Emile Zola has created a character so preposterous that casting agents in every corner of the globe would be hard-pressed to locate an actress capable of making her believable. Now I am not claiming that a woman like Nana could not exist—because our world is certainly chock-full of the preposterous—but she would necessarily be so exceptional—such an astounding confluence of so many unlikely variables—that her successful imitators must surely be just as rare. The part of Nana would require not only acting wherewithal, but also a physical allure (not a traditional beauty perhaps, but a certain... je ne sais quoi) so commanding that men (and women too) of every station in life, every class, and every moral conviction consider themselves powerless to resist her. What could such a woman possibly look like? She couldn't be adequately described, I don't think, because there would be something ineffable or even transcendent about her looks which would resist the banality of all the adjectives at our disposal. Oh, and did I mention—she has to be trashy too? There has to be the well-trafficked cooter stench (if only subliminal) of a Kardashian about her. In other words, I'm not seeing Katherine Heigl or Keira Knightley in the role. One of the advantages of reading over film-viewing is that I can imagine Nana any way that I want. Zola provides a few descriptors along the way—plump, tall, blonde, large-thighed—but these are fairly neutral construction materials which can be fashioned into an architecture of my choosing. My imagination, safely tucked away in the cellars of my mind, also isn't subject to the disapproval of others ('You think that's attractive?'). The spectral Nana of my conjuring becomes the authoritative Nana. Because she seduces me, she seduces everyone.Let's talk more about this Nana. There's really no getting around it: she's a cruel, calculating, ridiculous woman. She allows men into her life only to suck every last sou out of them and to send them, spitefully, on their way. She manipulates their affections—drawing them in to a sexual complacency and then, when she's taken everything she wants or gets bored, she belittles and abuses them and, finally, throws them out. A primary victim of her allure—although there are many—is Count Muffat, an older, distinguished, and erstwhile religiously devout man who ruins himself completely in his futile attempts to possess Nana. Nana cheats on him so often and so flagrantly that she seems like a sexual vending machine. Anyone with the cash on hand is entitled to a bag of Funyuns.Based on what I've told you, you probably won't be surprised that Nana has been attacked as a misogynistic work. If you approach the book prepared to understand Nana as symbolic, in whatever sense, of all women and to infer that many of the male characters' attitudes toward women are the author's own, then you will likely find Nana a repellent novel written by a repellent man. I, on the other hand, view Nana not as the Woman, but merely a woman. The misogyny of the male characters in the book, meanwhile, doesn't strike me as Zola's, given what I know about him: his avowed goal in his twenty-volume Rougon-Macquart series was to shine a 'scientific' light on the central role of social environment and heredity in the psychological determination of the individual. Nana's parents were poor, alcoholic, and abusive. Should we wonder that Nana ends up being this woman in this particular society? Is Zola blaming it on her gender? I don't think so. Of course, many of Zola's views on heredity seem ridiculous today, but no sane person doubts the tremendous effect of environment on the formation of an individual's character. I don't think anybody, male or female, comes off very well in this novel. We sometimes say that realists provide us with a 'warts-and-all' depiction of reality, but I think Zola prefers to dwell on the warts in Nana—and he certainly doesn't restrict himself to the title character's. Zola, on the one hand, clearly had a somewhat pessimistic view of the ills of society, but I think—and this is pure speculation here—he found some kind of hope in being able to illuminate these ills so that they could be remedied or guarded against. Lastly, a few practical notes: I read the creaky, dusty, and very British public domain translation published by Barnes and Noble. It was written in 1922, I believe. I'm taking it as a article of faith that there is a better translation out there—maybe more than one. If you decide to read Nana, seek out more opinions on translations because I'm guessing this one isn't the best bet. Also, this novel takes a while to really sink into. At the beginning, it's a little confusing—particularly at Countess Sabine's party—because there are a LOT of characters. But if you soldier on, I think you'll find yourself starting to like it at about the one-hundred page mark.

  • Henry Avila
    2019-03-27 10:18

    In the year of the fabulous Paris World's Fair, of 1867, when the glamorous city is crowded, with thrill seeking foreign and domestic visitors, Nana Coupeau, a prostitute, makes her unlikely debut also, on stage, in "The Blonde Venus", a spectacular but mediocre operetta. That she can't dance, sing or act, and has a horrible voice, doesn't matter, what is important, Nana is quite beautiful and has charisma, Monsieur Bordenave, the nervous owner of the shabby Opera House,"Varietes", isn't worried he tells his friends on Opening Night ( they almost believe him). And Bordenave was right, Nana becomes the symbol of the decadent, French Second Empire, of Napoleon the Third, her half naked, stunning performances, just standing there, in front of the curious, enthusiastic, enthralled audiences, becomes the sensation of the city, overnight the unknown, poor woman, reaches the pinnacle of success, at 15, countless affluent, adoring, some very famous suitors, throw money at her feet, taking advantage to enrich herself, bed hopping with hundreds of men and women (no exaggeration), strangely but maybe not, Nana despises them. Spending money recklessly and there are many others around, who do the same, sex seems to be all that anyone does, in this society, as written by Emile Zola, a fierce critic of the regime, corruption, scandals, thievery, anything goes. Ultimately the new star, meets Count Muffat, a honorable, married, but unhappy man, who set's her up in a huge mansion, full of luxuries, expensive jewelry, furniture , clothing, food, servants, only the best for his unfaithful love. Still Nana, (who's hair is blonde on one page and red on another , what gives Zola?), gets bored easily, while spending money faster, than it comes in. Men are always lurking about, everywhere in the premises, slaves to strong emotions, they can't control, or understand, the helplessly infatuated Count, is powerless to stop the debauchery, he is too much in love and can only hope, for a short time with his mistress. Zoe her good friend and servant, runs the house, taking care of Nana's every need, Satin an old schoolmate, and fellow traveler, in their former profession, moves in, and they begin a lesbian affair, which the very jealous Count , doesn't mind a bit... These two tarts, the word is continuously used in the book, by the author, seem to be the happiest together, not caring for the rest of the world, just enjoying being in the same company, hours pass quickly and quietly ... Sex rains down like a torrent, striking everyone, drowning them in lust, corrupting and finally destroying... I liked it.

  • Traveller
    2019-04-06 10:18

    Disclaimer: Whereas I usually try to be objective with my ratings and reviews, with this specific one, I allowed my gut to lead me.I hated this novel for it's sanctimonious preaching and its rank offensively aggressive misogynism (or perhaps, as has been remarked, it is misanthropy, plain and simple? ..since both men and women are ripped to shreds by the sharp lash of Zola'stongue pen ).The general milieu in the period of history that this novel is set in, was very unkind to the poor, so good luck, I say, to those who could manage to claw their way out of the gutter of poverty by whatever means possible.Yet, the impression I get from the way Zola describes things and the language he uses, is that he seems to be condemning those who managed to do so. He is supposed to be writing from the point of view of a paradigm of naturalism, but take it from a pro-Darwinst who believes to a large extent that humans are made up of reasonably equal parts of nature and nurture, that Zola sounds pretty judgmental for someone who is trying to show that people are merely the results of their circumstances.One of the things that caused me a high level of discomfort with this novel, is that to me it felt (I suppose that part of the impressions I got might be due to the translation - it's often quite hard to gauge a translated work appropriately) as if the 'special' quality about Nana seemed to be presented as something animal, some animal charisma, something that resounded in her admirers in their most base natures, the most animal part of their psyche.Perhaps that is what made me feel so uncomfortable; -is how readily Zola's characters responded to this animal aspect. I think it was a clever device by Zola to add to the reader's disgust. Perhaps his aim was to induce a feeling of shame in his contemporaries?Which brings me to the point that I don't think feminist readers will necessarily see Nana as symbolic of ALL women, but rather symbolic of "the sexual woman". I think that on an instinctual level, I saw her as symbolic of women who embrace their sexuality, and in this case, one of the women who uses her sexuality to gain power over men and destroy them. No doubt there are such women, of course there are (I know some of them and are myself repelled by a few of them). ...but Zola, in this specific novel, doesn't seem to try and counterbalance the typical stereotype of the scary, nasty man-eater with any positive female in juxtaposition with the nasty disgusting creature, who uses her animal cunning, her pheromones and her vagina to devour men whole. To make matters worse, Nana can't even be credited with really having used her brain (or possessing anything of the sort)- she is simply a thoughtless, base, ball of cunning. Her selfish exploitation of other humans seems to be of an instinctive, thoughtless variety, like the scorpion who stings simply because it is in the creature's nature.I think I'm probably a bit tired of the spectre of the vagina dentata myth, and my reaction (admittedly a visceral one) can probably be explained in light of my exasperation with it.I sometimes post images on my reviews. A picture is worth a thousand words, they say. Well, the following portrait doesn't quite contain 1000 words, but it does give you a good picture of Nana:"She alone was left standing, amid the accumulated riches of her mansion, while a host of men lay stricken at her feet. Like those monsters of ancient times whose fearful domains were covered with skeletons, she rested her feet on human skulls and was surrounded by catastrophes...The fly that had come from the dungheap of the slums, carrying the ferment of social decay, had poisoned all these men simply by alighting on them. It was fitting and just. She had avenged the beggars and outcasts of her world. And while, as it were, her sex rose in a halo of glory and blazed down on her prostrate victims like a rising sun shining down on a field of carnage, she remained as unconscious of her actions as a splendid animal, ignorant of the havoc she had wreaked, and as good-natured as ever."..and would you call Zola classist, perhaps? Dang, I should have done a Marxist review of this...- would have had a field day.

  • Ahmad Sharabiani
    2019-04-07 15:12

    Nana, Émile Zola عنوان: ن‍ان‍ا، ماجرای جانسوز یک زن هرجایی؛ نویسنده: امیل زولا؛ مترجم: محمدعلی شیرازی؛ در 125 ص؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان فرانسوی - قرن 19 معنوان: ن‍ان‍ا؛ نویسنده: امیل زولا؛ مترجم: عبدالله توکل؛ در 585 ص؛ شابک: 9644482654؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان فرانسوی - قرن 19 مروزی «زولا» با دوست نقاش خویش در رستورانی بنشسته، مشغول خوردن غذا بودند، پاسبانان وارد شدند تا زنان فاحشه را که بی مرد بودند، دستگیر کنند. زنان هر یک به مردی پناه بردند، و زنی روس هم به «زولا» پناه آورد، و «زولا» از سرگذشت آن زن پرسید و دوست نقاش «زولا» هم تصویر آن زن روس را کشید. زن خود را «نانا» معرفی کرد، این شد که «زولا» گفت: نام کتاب جدیدم «نانا» خواهد بودا. شربیانی

  • Manny
    2019-04-01 07:00

    You've heard of The Hooker With A Heart Of Gold? Well, this is the other kind.

  • Edward
    2019-04-05 09:04

    IntroductionSelect BibliographyA Chronology of Émile Zola--NanaExplanatory Notes

  • MJ Nicholls
    2019-04-18 09:19

    Zola’s ninth instalment in the Rougon-Macquart cycle tells the tale of steely-hearted coquette Nana—part-time actress, part-time prostitute, full-time booty-shaking Venus mantrap. The first quarter of the novel is a bacchanalian romp through the Théâtre des Variétés demimonde, introducing Nana’s rolling revue of sexual partners and sugar daddies. After her semi-nude debut (where she shows off her ‘corncrake’ singing voice), she has all Paris’s men drooling at her calves. First she settles down with the abusive comic actor Fontan who slaps her around and steals her lamb cutlets. Next she humours the doting teenager Georges before yielding to the tortured Count Muffat—a nobleman corrupted by sensual urges, willing to surrender his fortune to collapse into Nana’s arms. As fun as the decadent antics are, the novel is festooned with exhaustive room-to-room descriptions (more so than the overcooked Ladies’ Paradise), which is common for Zola, but far too many pages are bogged down in tedious, prolix passages. Like this mouthful:The velvet drapes, flesh-coloured like the tea-rose pink sky on fine evenings when Venus is gleaming against the soft glow of the setting sun on the horizon, were dotted with the bright stars of silver buttons, while the barley-sugar gilt mouldings descending from each corner and the gold lace round the central panels seemed like darting flames, tresses of red hair floating loose, half-veiling the stark simplicity of the room and emphasizing its voluptuous cool tints. (p.400)I know. I also found the novel lacking focus, flitting from character to character in a very distracting way, making it hard to lock on to the story (Nana’s moral corruption as moralising metaphor) or sink your teeth into Nana as a fully-rounded filly out for our hatred or sympathy. The characters’ behaviour is more ludicrously OTT than in other Zola novels (where OTT is a philosophy, but he’s really pushing it here, esp. with Muffat). The central flaw in Nana—her charms are never properly delineated. By Zola’s account, she is chubby, broad-hipped and whorish. To have all Paris’s men begging at her feet, she’d need to be much more than a pretty face with a tongue like a New York cabbie. Still, this novel offers a change from the po-faced social realism of his other famous works. A closing limerick:Little Count Muffat sat on his tuffet praying his soul to stayalong came that Nanaas quick as mañanaand sent him to hell that day

  • peiman-mir5 rezakhani
    2019-03-26 08:53

    ‎دوستانِ گرانقدر، این کتاب 125 صفحه ای، یکی از شاهکارهای دنیایِ داستان نویسی میباشد... «نانا» داستانِ زنی مو طلایی و بلوند و بسیار زیبا و خوش اندام است که از سنِ پایین در خیابانهایِ پاریس خودفروشی کرده است... و کودکی بدونِ پدر از همین روابط نصیبش شده است... یکی از معروفترین سالن هایِ نمایش در پاریس «نانا» را به عنوانِ بازیگر استخدام میکند و با آنکه صدای او زیبا نیست و حتی بازیگری را نمیداند، امّا مردان و برخی از زنانِ شهر، با دیدنِ «نانا» دیوانه وار او را موردِ تمجید و ستایش قرار دادند‎و روزنامه نگاری به نامِ «فوشیری» مقاله ای در روزنامه درموردِ «نانا» مینویسد و از زیباییِ او ستایش میکند‎در این داستان به خوبی نشان داده شده است که بسیاری از مردها نمیتوانند بر شهوت خود غلبه کرده و با نگاه به یک زنِ زیباروی دست و پا و دلِ آنها به لرزه می افتد... حتی مردانی که متأهل هستند و یا مردانی که ادعایِ پرهیزگاری و دین داری دارند، نمیتوانند از نگاه شهوت آمیز به این زنِ زیبا خودداری کنند و همچون سگ به دست و پایِ او می افتند و حاضر هستند که پایِ او را لیس بزنند.. «نانا» هم خوب میداند با آنها چگونه برخورد کند و آنها را آزار دهد... از طرفی عده ای از مردم نیز او را فاسد میدانند و به او لقبِ "مگس بال طلایی" داده اند‎داستان به همین منوال پیش میرود، تا آنکه «نانا» عاشق پسربچه ای 17 ساله به نامِ «ژرژ» میشود.. «ژرژ» عاشق و دیوانهٔ «نانا» شده و آنقدر به این دوستی اصرار میورزد که در نهایت دلِ «نانا» را بدست آورده و «نانا» تصمیم میگیرد که دیگر پاک زندگی کند و برایِ اولین بار عشق حقیقی و ناب را با تمامِ وجودش لمس کند‎امّا مردانی در اطرافِ «نانا» هستند که با پول و بُرش خودشان، او را وسوسه میکنند... آیا «نانا» میتواند زندگی خودش را تغییر دهد؟‎عزیزانم، بهتر است خودتان این داستانِ زیبا را بخوانید و از سرنوشتِ «نانا» آگاه شوید-------------------------------------------------‎نانا: اِی مردان.. تقصیر از خودِ شماست... اگر شما با چنین گشاده رویی و خوش زبانی که با ما رفتار میکنید، با زنانِ خود رفتار میکردید، همچنانکه ما برایِ از چنگ ندادنِ شما بکار می بریم، به طور قطع آسایش و سعادت در تمامِ خانه ها راه میافت و زندگانی زناشویی بجایِ آنکه دوزخِ سوزان گردد، بهشتِ برین میشود------------------------------------------------‎امیدوارم از خواندنِ این داستانِ زیبا لذت ببرید‎«پیروز باشید و ایرانی»

  • MohammedAli
    2019-04-15 07:08

    لم أجد أحسن من هذا المقال في جريدة الحياة و كاتبه هو " إبراهيم العريس " ليعبر عن ما اختلج في نفسي من أحاسيس و إلى ما تبادر إلى ذهني من كلمات.." بالنسبة إلى الجمهور الفرنسي خلال الربع الأخير من القرن التاسع عشر، لم تكن مدام بوفاري رمزاً لفرنسا... ولا حتى لويز ميشيل بطلة الكومونة كانت رمزاً... صحيح أن كلاًّ من هاتين البطلة الروائية والبطلة الحقيقية المناضلة كانت لها سمات شديدة الفرنسية، لكن كلاًّ منهما كانت ترمز إلى فرنسا بشكل جزئيّ فقط. أما نانا، الشخصية التي ابتكرها إميل زولا، فقد بدت أكثر من الاثنتين الأخريين حاملةً سمات المجتمع الفرنسي في ذلك الحين، أو لنقل بالأحرى سمات المجتمع الباريسي. ولكن، ألم تكن باريس في حينه فرنسا كلها؟ «نانا» إميل زولا هي المعادل الفرنسي لـ «لولو» الجرمانية... بل حتى لكل تلك النساء اللواتي إذ يجعل منهن القدر في شكل أو آخر ضحاياه، لا يتورعن عن المجابهة، وعن التعامل مع المجتمع، ومجتمع الرجال في شكل خاص، على أن عليه أن يكون هو ضحيتهن. ومن هنا يتساوى الخير والشر، وتصبح الإدانة، أي إدانة، غير ذات جدوى طالما أن الكاتب لم يشأ لنفسه في الأصل أن يكون واعظاً أو حكماً أخلاقياً.> من هنا، قد يكون من الصعب التعاطف التام مع نانا، بل سيكون من الصعب حتى تبرير كل تصرفاتها، فكيف بالتماهي معها لكي تصبح بطلة روائية ميلودرامية حقيقية؟ ولكن من الصعب في الوقت نفسه إدانتها، على اعتبار أنها من ذلك النوع الفتاك من النساء، اللواتي ليس لهن -عادة- ضمير يردعهن عن ارتكاب الآثام والشرور الناتجة منها. غير أن هذا لا يعني بالطبع أن المرء يمكنه أن يبقى على الحياد تجاه تلك الشخصية. ثم من قال أصلاً إن إميل زولا كان يريد لقارئه أن يبقى على الحياد؟ ومن قال، في طريقه أيضاً، إن إميل زولا إنما شاء هنا أن يرسم صورة لامرأة بصفتها امرأة لا أكثر؟ الحقيقة هي أن نانا هذه كانت، كما أسلفنا، ترمز إلى المجتمع الباريسي الصاخب في ذلك الحين، بكل ما في ذلك المجتمع من خير وشر، من سلبية وإيجابية... حتى من دون أن يكون ثمة تطابق تام، في الأحداث على الأقل، بين «نانا» وذلك المجتمع.> نشر إميل زولا رواية «نانا» في العام 1879، وهي في الأصل تشكل الجزء التاسع من سلسلة رواياته المعروفة باسم «روغون ماكار». والمعروف عن روايات تلك السلسلة أن شخصياتها تختفي ثم تعود بين رواية وأخرى... فبعض الشخصيات قد يكون رئيسياً هنا فيصبح ثانوياً هناك... وهكذا. أما رواية «نانا»، فنجدها -كما يؤشر عنوانها- تتحلق حول تلك الصبية الحسناء، آنا كوبو، التي نعرف منذ البداية أنها ابنة العاملة جرفيز من رجل مدمن للخمر كريه لا يهتم أيما اهتمام بأسرته، وتشتغل في المكوى... والأم والأب هذان سبق أن تعرفنا إليهما شخصيتين رئيستين في جزء سابق من السلسلة هو «المسلخ»، أما هنا فإن وظيفتهما فقط هي إنجاب آنا (نانا)، تلك الحسناء الرائعة التي يغطي حسنها على فقدانها أي موهبة من المواهب. إنها فتاة بالغة الجمال، لا تخلو شخصيتها من الدهاء... ومن هنا ستلعب ذلك الدور الكبير في حقبة من مسار المجتمع الفرنسي تتابعها الرواية.> المرة الأولى التي تطالعنا فيها نانا في هذه الرواية، هي حين تكون على وشك البدء بالقيام بدور البطولة في مسرحية غنائية تُقدّم على مسرح المنوعات. ندرك بداية أن المسرحية سخيفة، حتى لو كان عنوانها مغرياً («فينوس الشقراء»)، وندرك بداية أيضاً أن نانا نفسها لا تجيد الغناء مع أن بطولة المسرحية تتطلب منها ذلك، ناهيك بأنها لا تعرف شيئا عن التمثيل. بالنسبة إلى الفن، من الواضح أن نانا مجرد صفر لا يتحرك... ولكن على العكس من هذا جمالها ودلالاها وسحرها... ومن هنا، ومن دون أن يثني أحد على «مواهبها» الفنية، نراها موضع إعجاب الرجال جميعاً... إنهم هنا كلهم لكي يخطبوا ودها... وهم يتتابعون في حياتها خلال تلك الحقبة على الأقل، اذ ها ه، أولاً المصرفي شتاينر، الذي ينفق عليها، من أموال المصرف طبعاً... لكنها سرعان ما ستتخلى عنه لكي تعيش إلى جانب الممثل فونتان ذي الطباع الضارية والذي يذلها قبل أن يتخلى عنها... وإثر ذلك تتكشف لنا نانا على حقيقتها: امرأة تعرف أن لا أحد يحبها في الحقيقة، وهي نفسها لا تحب أحداً... لذلك تقرر أن تتحول إلى فتاة هوى... لعلها تفلح في هذه المهنة... وتقرر أنها في مهنتها الجديدة هذه ستسعى إلى تدمير كل أولئك الذين يرغبون فيها. لقد آلت على نفسها أن تصبح أداة في يد الشر لممارسة حقدها على البشر... وهكذا يتوالى على حياتها العشاق وهي تواصل تدميرهم واحداً بعد الآخر من دون شفقة أو رحمة: فاندافر المتأنق السخيف، ثم لافالواز الذي يتمتع بالحياة الرخوة من دون أن يشعر بأي مسؤولية، وصولاً إلى الكابتن هوغون الذي تدفعه إلى السرقة كرمى لعينيها، ما يدمره على الفور، تاركاً الساحة أمام أخيه الأصغر يغرم بنانا بدوره... لكن الأمر ينتهي بهذا إلى الانتحار.> إن نانا إذ تنتقم من «ظلم المجتمع» إياها عبر تدمير كل هؤلاء... تبقى على ظمئها، حتى وإن لم يبدُ أنها تدرك حقاً ما تفعله. إنها تسير مع الحياة كما هي، وتسيّر الحياة كما هي، من دون أن تقف لحظة لتسأل نفسها عن الغاية العميقة والبعيدة من ذلك كله. غير أن كل ما كانت فعلته حتى الآن يظل لاشيئاً مقارنة بما تفعله مع الكونت مارتل، الذي هو أصلاً أحد كبار موظفي القصر الإمبراطوري. إن الكونت مارتل رجل خجول ودائم الارتباك، يتردد عادة في كل شيء... لكنه لا يتوانى عن الوقوع في هوى نانا. أما هي، فتستغله أبشع استغلال وتعامله وكأنه خادم صغير، مستعبدة إياه إلى أبعد حد، وتبقى حريصة دائماً على أن تذله أمام أعين الناس أجمعين، قبل أن تسلم نفسها إليه في مقابل ما تتوقعه منه من مكاسب طائلة... ولكن لأن لكل شيء نهايته، ينتهي الأمر بنانا إلى أن تسأم حتى الموت من هذا المجتمع، فتقرر أن تعزل نفسها في قصر فخم يبنيه الكونت الأحمق، لكنها لن تكون وحيدة في عزلتها، بل ستكون مع الكونت وقد قررت لوهلة أن تبقى وفية له... غير أن هذا لا يدوم طويلاً، إذ إنها سرعان ما تستعيد مزاجها التدميري وتروح مدمرة كل الرجال المحيطين بها في محيطها الجديد، بدءاً بالكونت المسكين، كاشفة لهم خيانات زوجاتهم وعلاقاتهن، وصولاً إلى عشيقها، الذي تكشف له عن علاقة زوجته بأحد الصحافيين. هنا تبدو نانا ملاك انتقام حقيقياً... صحيح أن ما يتلو ذلك سيحطمها هي بين الآخرين، لكن ذلك لن يزعجها على الإطلاق طالما أنها تجد في دمار الآخرين أمام عينيها وبفضلها، لذةً ما بعدها لذة، وفي النهاية نجدها في غرفة فندق وحيدة مريضة تحتضر. وفي الوقت الذي يكون جسدها قيد التحلل، تعلو الهمسات في الشارع: فرنسا تعلن الحرب على بروسيا. وهكذا... تختفي نانا ويختفي معها في الوقت نفسه بهاء مجتمع باريسي قام على النفاق والكذب... وفق تحليل الدارسين.> والحال أن هذه النهاية هي التي تضفي على «نانا» بعدها الرمزي النهائي، وتجعل من تفتت نانا صورة عن تفتت مجتمع فرنسي معين. وإميل زولا (1840 - 1902) نفسه لم يفته أن يؤكد هذا في كل مرة تحدث عن هذه الرواية التي اعتبرها أكثر رواياته رمزية وتعبيراً اجتماعياً. كما أن قراء زولا أنفسهم ينظرون إلى «نانا» باعتبارها أقوى أعماله، وهو رأي يشاركهم فيه عادة الموسيقيون والسينمائيون والرسامون الذين كانت «نانا» على الدوام مصدراً لإلهامهم... ومنهم طبعاً السينمائي جان رينوار، الذي حوّل هذه الرواية إلى فيلم حقَّقَ حين عُرض نجاحاً كبيراً، واعتُبر من أفضل أفلامه بعد «الوهم الكبير» و «قواعد اللعبة». "

  • Teresa
    2019-03-26 08:20

    I can imagine the outrage this novel (probably one of those racy French novels kept out of the hands of proper Victorian ladies) provoked at the time of publication with its explicit portrait of a actress-cum-prostitute. Zola didn't write to titillate; he himself was outraged (as usual) at a society that was bored, wasteful and decadent, caring only for its own pleasure, thinking nothing of the future, its own excesses causing its collapse. I went back and forth wondering whether Zola was blaming Nana or the men for the destruction of marriages, careers and morals, but my best guess is the blame is on both, a perfect storm of receptiveness of these upper-class men to the raw sexuality of one woman, a woman who is her body only. Though Zola is a naturalist, Nana is not realistic with these superwoman powers of hers. She is described as a literal man-eater (consumer), but her partners are willing, or as willing as slaves to their own sexual natures can be. In the second half of the book, the depiction of Nana reminded me of the stories told about Marie Antoinette by her enemies, though Nana is without pedigree, being the offspring of two alcoholics from the slums of Paris (see L'Assommoir).Though more complex than The Fat and the Thin, this is my least favorite Zola so far (I've read three others), mostly because I don't care for descriptions of luxury and opulence, though I understand their purpose here. The lives of the aristocratic men worshiping at the altar of this theatrical and concupiscent Venus were not only uninteresting to me, but most of them blended together, which I'm sure was intentional, but made the story repetitive. Zola throws the reader into the scenes in his usual cinematic way; his powers of observation are prodigious. Some of the symbolism is obvious, but the writing is wonderful and this translation is earthy. Zola wrote this to parallel the French Empire, but the reader today will see parallels with our own cult of (sexual) celebrity. (There's even a woman named Gaga.)

  • Carmo
    2019-04-11 09:57

    Não vale a pena pôr paninhos quentes e procurar razões que justifiquem o comportamento desta rapariga, estouvada e egoísta, cujo único trunfo era uma beleza estonteante e uma sexualidade pujante.Nasceu pobre, viveu na miséria e deve ter sofrido toda a espécie de abusos, inclusive por parte do pai. Não chega! Há características que são intrínsecas a cada ser humano independentemente da sua origem e estrato social.Apesar de a obra não revelar pormenores sobre os seus primeiros anos de vida, percebe-se que começou a prostituir-se muito nova. Quando a conhecemos era atriz de teatro. Não sabia representar, cantar ou dançar, mas deu nas vistas pelo corpo escultural e cara de anjo. Era inconsequente, narcisista e, diga-se em abono da verdade, um bocado burra. Fazia birras típicas de uma criança, mas soube tirar partido da luxuria que movia os homens que lhe caíam aos pés, dispostos a delapidar todo o património familiar e a cair na ruina, para poderem dormir com ela. Podia ter amealhado uma fortuna colossal e abandonado a prostituição. Contudo, era tão irresponsável que não conseguiu gerir as fortunas que recebia; gastava pelo prazer de gastar, comprando luxo que abandonava a seguir, deixando-se roubar pela criadagem ou despendendo somas avultadas em ataques de generosidade. Tornou-se cada vez mais dura e caprichosa. Para o final era mesmo cruel e impiedosa, humilhando e achincalhando os desgraçados que se rojavam aos seus pés, sem querer saber das consequências. Nem sei se chegou a gostar verdadeiramente de alguém. Nem sequer era boa mãe. Empurrou o filho – que não deve ter sido mais que um acidente – para casa de uma tia, só o visitando quando era atacada pelo saudosismo, ou quando lhe apetecia exibi-lo, para o esquecer logo a seguir. Apesar de tudo, continuo a achar que ela não tinha um fundo de maldade… Mas não sabia viver de outra forma, não resistia ao poder de dominar os homens e fazer deles fantoches, levando-os a chafurdar na sua própria imoralidade. A única vez em que tentou uma vida diferente, foi maltratada e explorada.Numa época em que Paris era o santuário de todos os vícios, o autor caricaturou na perfeição uma sociedade decadente e amoral. Gostei particularmente das descrições dos jantares, representação extravagante de vício e exagero: bocas a transbordarem de comida, babando gordura que escorria e ensopava a roupa, enquanto vão empurrando goela abaixo, com a ajuda de litros de champanhe. Um exercício de gula desmedida, perfeita alegoria do pecado e deboche que caracterizava as suas vidas.Naná, teve Paris aos pés, foi odiada pelas mulheres e idolatrada pelos homens. Os mesmos que a abandonaram quando ficou doente e já não lhes servis para nada. Curiosamente, foram as rivais que acorreram à sua cabeceira.

  • qwerty
    2019-04-08 15:12

    Λατρεύω τον Εμίλ Ζολά και γενικότερα οποιοδήποτε μυθιστόρημα έχει ως θέμα τη ζωή στη Γαλλία και μπορεί να με κάνει να ταξιδέψω εκεί χρονικά και χωρικά.Είναι πολύ εντυπωσιακή η περιγραφή της κατάπτωσης των ηθών και σίγουρα ο συγγραφέας καταπιάνεται με ένα θέμα-ταμπού για εκείνη την εποχή. Δεν ήθελα να το αφήσω από τα χέρια μου, έχει πολύ ενδιαφέρουσα πλοκή και είναι καθηλωτικό. Έχει πάρα πολλούς ήρωες και για να είμαι ειλικρινής, ------SPOILER------δεν περίμενα ότι σχεδόν όλοι τους θα περάσουν από το κρεβάτι της. Επίσης, αισθάνθηκα ενα δέος μπροστά στην παντοδυναμία που έχει το αιδοίο,σε αντίθεση με την προσωπικότητα και τις επιλογές της Νανάς, οι οποίες πραγματικά ήταν "Ο,ΤΙ ΝΑ 'ΝΑΙ", λόγω του νεαρού της ηλικίας της βέβαια. Με το τέλος της ιστορίας παίρνει κανείς και μια γεύση από τις εξελίξεις εκείνης της εποχής σε εθνικό και κοινωνικό επίπεδο.Συμπορεύεται πολύ όμορφα η κατάσταση της Νανάς στο τέλος του μυθιστορήματος με την κατάσταση της κοινωνίας την ίδια στιγμή.Η μετάφραση μου φάνηκε άψογη και δε βρήκα ούτε ενα τυπογραφικό λάθος. Σε αντίθεση με εκδόσεις ακριβότερες, νεότερες και ποιοτικότερες στις οποίες μπορεί να βρήκα αρκετά παραπάνω τυπογραφικά από το επιτρεπτό,κατ' εμέ, αυτή την έκδοση μπορώ να πω ότι την αγάπησα. Παρόλο που μου σκίστηκε το βιβλίο στη μέση.Μια,όχι και τόσο σημαντική, λεπτομέρεια είναι ότι στο εξώφυλλο απεικονίζεται μια γυναίκα ντυμένη με τη μόδα των twenties,ενώ η ιστορία εκτυλίσσεται τον 19ο αιώνα.

  • Abailart
    2019-04-20 11:59

    Joy unlimited. A long, long time ago my kindly Headmaster recommended I broaden my reading prior to university, and gave me Germinal. I read it somewhat dutifully and marked as done, a knowledge of Zola. Now, man years later, I can read at last. And this book that has been staring from my shelf for years has bombed me out. Nana is a carbonated torrent of the most high speed and energetic writing I have come across. Decay, decadence, death, power, class, cruelty, the brilliant equation of the muscular contractions of the body in the rapture of sexual pleasure with the ice cold falling prostrate to some purified and alien God that stands above the mess and filth and stink of humanity. Not a single redeemable character, uet by magic all of them are redeemed. More, much more from Zola.

  • Shane
    2019-04-21 13:19

    A stunning indictment of the excesses of the Second Empire in France which implodes on greed and human weakness. Nana is both the cause and the reflection of that greed, as are her countless lovers. Zola is truly the master of the crowd scene and many of the chapters in this book involve a crowd of people (albeit the same people); be it a behind-the-scenes visit to a theatre during a performance, a party at an aristocratic residence, a party at a prostitute’s residence, a horse race, a wake. The omniscient narrator sets the scene and helps us with the thoughts and motivations of the cast, which would have been difficult to convey through any other POV representation.Much has been said about the misogyny of the males in this novel and about the over-painted carnality of Nana, but they are merely the symptoms of the malaise and the forces leading to the fall of the Empire. The aristocrats, the idle rich, amuse themselves with parties, theatre and horseracing, while indulging in flagrant affairs with each others’ partners. After awhile it is hard to keep track of who is sleeping with whom, and what will be the new arrangement of couplings when the next chapter begins. Nana, a prostitute with a huge sexual appetite for men and women alike, descends upon this scene and “wreaks the revenge of the lower classes on the upper classes.” In the process she drives rich men into bankruptcy and suicide; fortunes are gutted and inheritances squandered while she strides the land like a dragon consuming everything in her path. She wasn’t always like this; the early chapters portray a struggling actress who has come out of a dysfunctional and poor family. She is impulsive and illiterate but with a kind heart towards fallen men and women, a maternal bent towards her abandoned child, and unable to keep a rein on money. Early success in the theatre, where her body drives men crazy, leads to a increasingly promiscuous life with many a willing, rich but weak man ready to fund her lavish lifestyle. In the end, her nymphomania, self-absorbtion, and material greed get out of control and consume her, just at the Second Empire is launching into a hubristic war against Prussia, an event that leads to its downfall.There are great visual pieces in this novel: Nana flouting her body on stage while the sexual charge she emanates is portrayed only by the sweating gentlemen and the swearing ladies in the audience; Count Muffat, her hapless lover, reading damning evidence against Nana, while she is admiring her naked body in the mirror before him; the women at her wake talking politics without a glance at her body, while her male lovers are too scared to enter the house of death; the final page of the book where the scars of a profligate life are laid bare, a metaphor for the decaying empire that created it.I had difficulty initially with the Zola’s naturalistic style where each scene had to be captured in the most excruciating detail; but it also led to a deeper visualization of the streets of Paris—a city that doubled in size during the Second Empire—the squalor of the poor, the grunge of theatre back stages, the stark lives of thespians and prostitutes, and the suppressed desires of the bourgeoisie and aristocracy. For instance, in describing the scent of women, Zola gets down to the smell of powder and toilet vinegar, to rice powder and musk. He was trying to paint an entire society through the lens of the prostitute in this novel, just as in his other novels in the Rougon-Macquart series he captured the Second Empire through different lenses, and for this purpose his style succeeds.Most empires ultimately implode on their excesses and this empire was no different. It is interesting that Zola chose to embody that excess in the person of Nana, the queen bee who beds many drones and destroys them in the process. Only, this queen did not live to lay her eggs and create new colonies, instead she destroyed the old one and perished with it.

  • Jason
    2019-04-05 15:05

    I get it--Nana rose from a fetid pile of garbage and alighted arbitrarily on the upper crust of Parisian society, staining it.I get it--Nana exposed the myriad faces of man's desires, disgracing them.I get it--Nana digested men wholly and selfishly, wildly prostituting herself.I get it, but only in the last couple hundred pages. I'm an ardent fan of Emile Zola, especially the 20 part Les Rougan-Macquart series. His writing is powerful. However, the first 200 pages of Nana was downright boring. There was too much dialogue between too many key characters. Up until the end I had no idea how some of the characters related to Nana, simply accepting that they had some part in the plot. None of that brilliant social commentary characteristic of Zola (L'Assomoir, Germinal) appeared until later chapters, when he attacked viciously.Nana must have struck the literary world like a purple thunderclap. A well-known and ostentatious hussy, Nana was revered by all elements of elite Parisian society, some of her tricks employed by the Empire, by the theater, by the stock exchange--not to mention her wanton, in between forays to the street corner to extinguish her loneliness. How could a tempered, exclusive society welcome a concubine, not just as a peer, but as a trendsetter, a superstar, a national inamorata? Zola answers: man's depravity to behold and worship, and therefore be destroyed.A favorite quote (obviously near the end) displays Zola's truculent criticism of the powerlessness of man before the opposite sex."She alone was left standing, amid the accumulated riches of her mansion, while a host of men lay stricken at her feet. Like those monsters of ancient times whose fearful domains were covered with skeletons, she rested her feet on human skulls and was surrounded by catastrophes...The fly that had come from the dungheap of the slums, carrying the ferment of social decay, had poisoned all these men simply by alighting on them. It was fitting and just. She had avenged the beggars and outcasts of her world. And while, as it were, her sex rose in a halo of glory and blazed down on her prostrate victims like a rising sun shining down on a field of carnage, she remained as unconscious of her actions as a splendid animal, ignorant of the havoc she had wreaked, and as good-natured as ever." (p 452)Yes, Zola! With both barrels man.I award 2.5 stars, as the second half eclipsed the insipid beginning. I would only recommend Nana because the sum of the Les Rougan-Macquart series are better than the parts, and Nana the character is essential to understanding that gene pool.

  • Sandra
    2019-04-05 12:04

    Il romanzo è una sequenza di quadri impressionisti, potrebbero essere opere di Manet o di Toulouse Latrec, deliziosi affreschi della ottocentesca vita parigina di teatranti, giornalisti, affaristi e nobili dediti al divertimento e alla depravazione, una specie di “corte dei miracoli” intorno al suo centro, la bellissima, lussuriosa, perversa Nanà, di cui viene narrata la parabola, dall’ascesa a stella del teatro a prostituta d’alto bordo, circondata da uomini di ogni estrazione sociale, dai quali essa succhia ricchezze per soddisfare tutte le proprie voglie e poi lascia in rovina, senza curarsene, indifferente a tutti fuorchè alla propria bellezza, fino ad arrivare ad una fine che funge da contrappasso rispetto alla vita licenziosa della donna. In sé la trama è esile, ma la scrittura minuziosa di dettagli, realistica ed evocativa, di Zola, fa apprezzare i quadri che di volta in volta vengono descritti: la prima apparizione di Nanà al teatro, in una prima teatrale, l’attesa del pubblico, la sala gremita, l’aspettativa e il dubbio, la curiosità degli spettatori e poi la sua apparizione come una Venere bionda, che non sa cantare né recitare ma basta che appaia sul palcoscenico perché il pubblico venga scosso da brividi, da pensieri lascivi, ed i desideri si infiammano. Oppure la bellissima scena del gran premio al Bois, l’arrivo delle carrozze con le prostitute d’alto bordo e le mantenute che non sono ammesse tra il pubblico delle donne “oneste”, dell’alta borghesia e nobili, i colori sfavillanti degli abiti, dei cappelli, lo champagne, le scommesse, la tensione per la corsa cui partecipa una puledra con il suo nome, Nanà, così chiamata in suo onore da uno dei suoi amanti. Il romanzo narra il trionfo del vizio, della corruzione dei costumi e della dissolutezza: “ mosca uscita dall’immondizia dei sobborghi , portando i fermenti della putredine sociale, aveva avvelenato quegli uomini appena posandosi su di essi. Era logico, era giusto: ella aveva vendicato la sua gente, gli straccioni, i reietti…”. L’occhio attento di Zola evidenzia come la putredine sociale sia diffusa in ogni angolo della società, soprattutto tra quelle “donne oneste”che vivono ammantate dall’ipocrisia del loro ceto: un romanzo sociale, a tratti così attuale da far confondere il lettore.

  • BAM The Bibliomaniac
    2019-03-29 09:59

    What an enlightening look at the backstage of the Parisian stage! It's as busy as a city sidewalk. Speaking of busy, Nana is a mistress of musical bedrooms. The art of the courtesan is new to her, having been a street walker in a previous novel, but she's taken well to it. But the life of a kept woman has numerous restrictions; she's never really a free spirit. There are constant schedule mishaps ( because of course, there must be more than one man unless he's royalty), there may be a child to nurture, and then there is a possible occupation most likely actress. How to dump the current Count if one doesn't have a Marquis to replace him? Happiness isn't a top priority if money is made this way. But what happens when the men run out? Or one becomes a battered woman? Where to go? Is it possible to pull oneself out of the gutter slop a second time? How Nana finds these besotted boobies I do not understand. Her bedroom is a revolving door. She is a wretchedly spoiled, vacuous waste. By the end of the book I disliked her.

  • Poncho
    2019-04-16 08:20

    It might be weird that I begin by the end of the story, but it was indeed what I liked the most in this novel. Well, actually, the last two chapters, for me, are just magnificent: from the literary style to the story itself. I was amazed by Zola’s way to describe decadence and how this man-eater stops having just ‘little bites’ and starts devouring her preys. What thrilled me the most of this book was the fact that I knew the characters were not likeable at all, which is true; that there isn’t any way you can feel attached to any of the characters; so I thought this would be like Wuthering Heights, one of my all time favorites, one of the books that can suck all brightness out of a story. However, I wouldn’t say Nana has this same effect, for when it comes to it, the result is not due to their meanness or their baseness, but it’s rather due to the fact that the characters are quite exasperating! Even Nana, whom I thought would be more strong, malicious and, why not, bitchy: even her sometimes irritated me; but, I think that’s one of the several things that Zola was aiming for with his ambitious and brilliant oeuvre: the follies of youth. If youth itself is just a mess, imagine what it would be for a young woman, left alone in such a city as Paris must be, who’s used to getting what she wants just by her charms… That just worsens everything. Sometimes she’s like a spoiled annoying little girl; sometimes she tries to settle; then she goes back on track and so on. All in all, she’s just a very unstable character; and it’s not until the last two chapters that this I-am-not-sure-of-what-I-want woman raises her inner nature and develops it to the point that destroying lives and ruining them is another hobby, like throwing plates at a wall just for fun. The analysis of human nature that can be found in this novel might be focused specifically on the dark side, but since many of the behaviors described here are in force to this day, it is worth the reading. For instance, we have Nana’s preference for Fontan, who ill-treated her; her intermittent compassion towards others; how she reacted at the race when for a moment she felt she was the homonymous mare getting everyone’s attention; how Muffat what terribly obsessed with her; and the list can go on and on, everlasting — for who can fully understand such a complex creature as a human? It’s like that song by Björk: if you ever get close to a human, be ready to get confused.Another of my favorite parts is when Muffat notices that Zizi’s blood stain in the carpet begins to fade away, which means every man’s soles have taken a part of it. It is creepily poetic. Oh, and speaking of Muffat, personally, he might be the only character with whom I’d feel more attached. Among the many many characters in this story, he might be the only one for whom I’d feel more empathy. For there are indeed, like I just said, several characters that the first chapter, in which most of them are introduced, was quite confusing! But you get used to it in the second one — one of my favorites too, by the way — the dinner party chapter, which was amazing and I felt as if I were watching a movie, with the camera rotating around the room and moving from one character to another.Finally, I absolutely loved the book and the last part reminded me, on one hand, that no matter what we do, what our social position is, we are going to end the same way; and on the other hand, that we get what we give: such as Nana’s illness ruining her beauty, as if the venom she used to ruin her preys’ lives had gotten up to her face. It was easy for me to imagine how the story was going to end, but the way how Zola wrote it is what astonished me the most. I’m so eager to read more of this series (I forgot to mention, though you might know already, that Nana is part of Les Rougon-Macquart: a series of books that can be read independently), and I’m so curious to know more of Zola’s characters, albeit their unlikeable nature. Nonetheless, this implies one concern: I have to add nineteen more books to my already long wishlist.

  • James
    2019-03-30 08:00

    An amazing febrile whopper of a book. Nana, an actress and courtesan, is a one woman wrecking ball, the flame upon which a host of moths blinded by desire hurl themselves. Zola really does not pull his punches at any stage and the book rockets through to ever increasing lurid madness conjuring up the image of the Empire of the 1870s as a boat careening around a whirlpool as anchor after anchor snaps away. The ending in the particular uses a symbolism so pungent and gothic that one forgives the lack of subtlety.When I was reading the book I was originally frustrated by the lack of any attempt to provide anything but the most cursory explanation of the self-destructive behavior of the characters. The men are magnetized by her sexuality but not really clear why. Nana herself is a mystery, variously written off as a tramp, hen brain and overwhelmed by flights of emotion. I somehow felt that Zola himself preferred to keep her as a riddle throughout her one woman path of revenge on a corrupt society.A ridiculous book but an amazingly vivid one.

  • Chrissie
    2019-04-10 13:14

    Now I have listened to 5 hours, and do not like this at all. I have decided to dump it. I find the book boring and the characters unintelligent, with despicable behavior. I don't feel pity or empathy for any of them. Couldn't Zola have thrown in some humor? OK, Zola was a naturalist, but is it realistic to collect together such a bunch of loosers? Are people really this bad? And I am sick to death of the soirées, one after another filled with empty talk and drunkenness. Those at the soirées are falling asleep. How does Zola expect me to stay awake if none of them can?! Bismarck is discussed only fleetingly. It takes place before the war between France and the Prussians in 1870, when Alsace-Lorraine fell to the Prussians.******************************The narration by Walter Zimmerman is just terrible. He reads in a steady monotone.I want to read this, so I am going to stick with it, at least for a while, but it takes all my attention to listen to the author's words rather than the narrator's voice.

  • Andrew
    2019-03-28 13:02

    This is Nana. Watch Nana fuck. Fuck, Nana, fuck.That is the plot of Emile Zola's Nana. It is a 19th Century French novel, which means it's this big messy melodramatic soap opera. But it's so much fun! Nana is a man-eater to make anyone on Days of Our Lives blush, tangled up not only in prostitution, but in gambling, gluttony, promiscuity, lesbian kidnappings (?!), sadomasochism, suicide, murder, and, most importantly for Zola, economic catastrophe. Not only can she burn down the lives of those around her, she can also destroy whole civilizations. She's a symbol for decay in Deuxième-Empire France, which means that in the end she like actually decays. And it's grislier than a Cronenberg movie. Wooo!!!!

  • Judith
    2019-04-14 08:05

    I don't know if I gave this book a fair shake because it was so annoying I had to stop reading it after 50 pages or so. All the women were described as "sluts" and "whores". All the men were drooling bores. And the author's tone seemed to be one of a madly gesticulating Frenchman flippantly dismissing various sexual escapades as if to say, "ah yes, sex is so boring. but what else is there to talk about?"

  • Dolceluna
    2019-04-18 12:07

    Zola non è uno scrittore, Zola è LO scrittore, è il romanziare per eccellenza, di quelli che oggi si fatica a trovare, di quelli che in due pagine ti aprono un mondo, con descrizioni che, per quanto possano risultare un po' pesanti al lettore moderno, sono di una minuziosità e di un realismo straordinari. Nei suoi romanzi si respira a pieni polmoni l'aria della Parigi ottocentesca, qui dipinta nei suoi colorati boulevards, tra cafés, hotels e teatri di varietà meta della borgesia di nicchia...ed è in uno di questi teatri che si apre questo nono tomo del ciclo dei "Rougon-Macquart", la storia di Anne Coupeau, detta Nana, figlia di Gervaise, l'umile lavandaia protagonista del famoso "L'assommoir". Nana, musa del desiderio, venere seducente, soubrette in siparietti dove infiamma gli uomini con le sole movenze, incarnazione del mito del sesso e della lussuria, bambola seduttrice e sedotta: il romanzo ruota attorno a questa figura femminile ambigua e accecante e ai giochi di potere che intrattiene con borghesi disonesti o apparentemente onesti che lei pensa di sfruttare per ottenere lusso e ricchezza ma i quali, in realtà, sono i primi a sfruttarla per sfogare le loro frustrazioni matrimoniali o i loro desideri più repressi. E, sebbene essa tenti una scalata sociale ed economica a dispetto delle sue umiili origini dimostrandosi sicuramente più sfrontata, ambiziosa, temeraria e orgogliosa rispetto alla madre, la sua fine non sarà meno tragica, perfettamente in linea con il principio "determinista" di già, con Zola non si scappa. Nana porta in eredità i semi del fallimento della sua famiglia viziosa e diseredata, il suo destino è quello di fallire...e il finale, in cui tutti gli uomini che l'avevano tanto adulata e bramata, alla sua morte, se ne stanno lontani, indifferenti, e con le mani in tasca, è emblematico: Zola vuole mostrare a piena luce una vittima dello sfruttamento, morale e fisico, e ci riesce alla perfezione. In conlusione, un classico notevole e di spessore che dipenge un quadro sociale, il quale, ahimè, se decontestualizzato, non appare, in vizi e virtù, tanto diverso dal nostro. Di Zola ce n'è uno solo, al mondo d'oggi di narratori tanto abili è davvero difficile trovarne.

  • Alex
    2019-04-23 12:14

    For those who like time travel, not to a virtual time someone makes up, but to a real one such as Paris in the 1870’s, those who want vivid, detailed, and realistic imagery, minimal moralization, or those who want to sample “naturalist” or “scientific” literature, Nana is a perfect specimen. Here we follow a first-rate Parisian courtesan into her home, every room, including the bathroom, to see her clients, what they do, talk about, eat, and how much money changes hands, what her room maid, cook, coachman, butler, and guard do and gossip about, how they steal money in their each one’s own way, how her worshipers and collecting creditors behave while waiting there, etc. The details of most furniture, fabric, flowers, and many decorative items are described down to shape, material, color, etc. There is a huge difference in these between her early apartment (7 rooms, 1 servant) before her huge success and her mansion (5 servants) after that. I learn for the 1st time that an upholstery fabric can be specifically weaved, not printed or cut, to a design to fit the intended chair. Someone might doubt whether these descriptions are faithful to reality. According to the preface to the 1st English edition by Henry James, Zola had researched every scene in the novel, with one separate book of notes for each of them, plus one notebook devoted to the physiology of each of the personages. He got into some apartment or house typical to such courtesan and spent much time recording just about everything there. (He also wanted to know the detailed appearance of a corpse died of smallpox but was not allowed to go and see, so he sent someone to record for him.)Here is a list of dishes and drinks at a dinner party in Nana’s apartment (sorry for my notes included in the parentheses):- du Meursault (a wine)- Purée d'asperges comtesse, consommé à la Deslignac (Countess’ asparagus thick soup, La Deslignac clear soup);- crépinettes de lapereaux aux truffes et des niokys au parmesan (Truffled flat sausage of young rabbit meat (in casing of sheep abdominal membrane), and Niokys (?) with Parmesan cheese);- carpe du Rhin à la Chambord et une selle de chevreuil à l'anglaise (Chambord Rhine carp, and an English style saddle of venison);- des poulardes à la maréchale, des filets de sole sauce ravigote et des escalopes de foie gras (Mrs. Marshall’s fattened chicken, sole fillet in shallot spicy sauce, and foie gras cutlet);- Chambertinet du Léoville (a wine)- sorbets aux mandarines (mandarin sorbet)- Le rôti chaud… filet aux truffes (hot roast -- truffled beef fillet)- le rôti froid, une galantine de pintade à la gelée (cold roast -- galantine of guineafowl & jelly)- des cèpes à l'italienne et des croustades d'ananas Pompadour (Italian cep mushroom, and Pompadour pineapple in pastry crust or pineapple fritter (?))- champagne (throughout all the courses)- les glaces et le dessert (ices and deserts)- le café And then beyond her apartment or house we can see other people or scenes. Almost all the streets mentioned (about 20+ as I estimate?) in the novel are still there in Paris and can be searched in Google Earth. A theater and a hospital are still there, too. Most restaurants have since closed, though. In the novel there are streetwalkers, who behave very differently in the evenings, when they try to attract customers, or to escape the police, than in the mornings, when they come out to shop at the market, or in the afternoons, when they go to a cheap eatery mostly serving them.Nana has another career as a burlesque singer/actress. To give us several scenes in such theater, Zola researched very intensively so that we can tour everywhere in it, including the boxes, the stalls, the backstage, and even the drink bar for the actors below the stairs, etc., he even tells us the shape and height of the windows in the staircase. Running such business seems not very easy, as they don’t have enough money to renovate the hall with cracked golden moldings or some stained backstage wall coverings, and they buy props from cheap flea markets, even though at times the theater is packed with spectators, including aristocrats and even foreign princes. There are also scenes of horse racing in Paris and chateaus near Orleans, all very detailed, down to, say, the rough layout of the garden of the chateau Nana occupies for some days.Zola learned trade jargon of theater and uses it to describe the performance and rehearsal situations. The book is full of slang to suit the lowly characters, especially Nana; this perhaps makes different translations vary quite a lot. For example, she says “…si ta femme claquait…"; one (F. J. Vizetelly) translated it as "if your wife was to croak", but another (anonymous at did as "if your wife were only to kick the bucket".Zola does not avoid texts deemed as obscene at the time, such as descriptions of Nana’s body, or the phrase “to sleep with”. Translators such as Vizetelly did some censorship (boo!), changing meanings, or mostly deleting full sentences or larger passages, such as this one lost by him:"Nana …,ramassant des filles au coin des bornes. Quand elle rentrait en voiture, elle s'amourachait parfois d'un souillon aperçu sur le pavé, les sens pris, l'imagination lâchée; et elle faisait monter le souillon, le payait et le renvoyait. Puis, sous un déguisement d'homme, c'étaient des parties dans des maisons infâmes, des spectacles de débauche dont elle amusait son ennui.”Hmm, I have probably done more than I should in this review by now... But I almost forgot another important dimension of Zola's virtuosity! There is complexity in Nana: she is not only a voracious exterminator; she is moved to tears for the poor and donates her only money to charity; she is a slave for her true love, a mean man; she despises all, but loves, respects, and fears her childhood friend, a poor prostitute; she is sometimes honest but sometimes a liar... the contradictions make her very human.In summary, if you prefer the most honest or faithful, and the least manipulating, novelists or translators, as I do, then Zola, and hence Nana, are probably among the bests you can get.

  • Hugo Emanuel
    2019-04-08 15:00

    Nana - devoradora de homens e de fortunas. Nana – animalidade lasciva capaz de transformar libidinosa atracção na mais abjecta servidão. Nana – cortesã elevada á personificação mítica da fúria vingativa da miséria, vicio e corrupção sobre as falsas pretensões de moralidade e rectitude com que se trajavam os escalões mais altos da sociedade do Sec. XIX. Nana – um dos instrumentos utilizados por Zola para expor e revelar algum do excesso e ganância que transbordou do primeiro capitalismo liberal. Sim, Nana é tudo isto - uma metáfora quase elevada ao mito e parte de um todo muito maior, nomeadamente a saga Rougon-Macquart . Mas Nana é, acima de tudo, simplesmente Nana – uma mulher cujo berço foi extrema miséria e pobreza e cujos únicos legados deixados pela sua mãe, lavadeira forçada a prostituir-se e pelo seu pai, infame criatura embrutecida pelo álcool, foi a sua sensualidade, corpo e entorpecimento tanto emocional como moral.Se ainda não tiveram o prazer de desfrutar deste irónico, mordaz, impiedoso e absolutamente delicioso romance de Emile Zola, recomendo que o façam apenas depois de ler “A Taberna” pois vim mais tarde a descobrir que neste é-nos relatada a história dos pais de Nana e alguma da sua infância. Quando acabei de ler “Nana” tinha ficado com a sensação de que Zola tinha aflorado demasiado superficialmente o passado da “heroína” deste romance. O que considerei ser uma falha de Zola era na verdade falha minha; pura e simplesmente teria beneficiado muito mais da leitura de “Nana” se o tivesse feito após a “A Taberna”. No entanto, “Nana” é um romance que se lê perfeitamente bem sem o auxílio de qualquer outro dos vinte romances pertencentes á saga Rougon-Macquart (posso dizê-lo com conhecimento de causa pois até á data este foi o único romance de Zola que li).Apesar de ter apreciado imenso esta obra ao ponto de considerar classificar-lhe com cinco estrelas, acabei por me decidir pelas quatro. Um dos motivos pelo qual o fiz deve-se ao facto da sua estrutura me parecer por vezes algo errática e indisciplinada. O seu ritmo é tremendamente desigual – os primeiros dois capítulos desenrolam-se a passo de caracol, com descrições pormenorizadas de jantares e serões onde somos apresentados a um considerável numero de personagens (algumas das quais nem são particularmente relevantes para o enredo principal do romance) e durante os quais a ironia e humor de Zola não parecem, por vezes, estar particularmente afinados; no entanto a partir do meio do romance a história é nos relatada a um ritmo alucinante e com uma impetuosidade e mordacidade bastante mais “cáustica” do que a sua primeira metade. Mas o romance nunca é de todo aborrecido ou desinteressante – apenas tem uma segunda parte visivelmente mais forte e inspirada. O outro motivo que contribuiu para que deduzisse uma estrela á obra foi o de me pareceu ter havido pouca preparação para os acontecimentos narrados no Capitulo VIII, durante o qual Nana embarca numa relação amorosa com um individuo de escassíssimos recursos financeiros, abusivo, com poucos escrúpulos, violento e nada atraente – o que parece entrar em directo conflito com o que nos é dito de Nana até aquele ponto do romance. Não sugiro que tal seja impossível – especialmente tendo em conta o que vimos a saber mais tarde sobre a infância de Nana – mas todo o capítulo pareceu pouco credível por não ter sido devidamente preparado.No entanto no seu todo” Nana” é um romance excelente que recomendo sem reservas.

  • Joana Marta
    2019-04-08 11:56

    A crónica do Fauchery, intitulada a Mosca de Oiro, era a história de uma rapariga descendente de quatro ou cinco gerações de bêbados, o sangue estragado por uma hereditariedade de miséria e de bebedeira, que nela se transformava num desequilíbrio nervoso do seu sexo de mulher. Brotara num bairro, nas ruelas parisienses; e alta, bela, de carnes soberbas, tal qual uma planta de estrumeira, vingava os vadios e os abandonados de que era produto. Com ela, a podridão que deixavam fermentar no povo, tornara a subir e apodrecia a aristocracia. Tornava-se numa força da natureza, num fermento de destruição, sem mesmo o querer, corrompendo e desorganizando Paris entre as suas coxas de neve, fazendo-o alterar como as mulheres fazem alterar o leite. Não encontrei melhor do que este pequeno excerto, para dar uma noção muito breve, do que é este belo livro! Paris, eis que Nana surge nas bocas do mundo, quando no teatro Variedades (ou bordel, como preferiria Bordenave) aparece no papel de Vénus, torna-se um fenómeno que seduz os homens, com a sua confiança extremamente sensual, e deixa as mulheres a roerem-se de inveja. E de facto Nana é uma visão de mulher, com cabelos dourados e formas voluptuosas, esta cortesã torna-se, facilmente, numa prostituta de luxo em Paris, conseguindo ludibriar e manipular mulheres, e, especialmente, os homens a seu bel-prazer.Nos primeiros capítulos é-nos descrita a vida em sociedade, as festas, os inúmeros eventos sociais e quem se move neles. É algo exaustiva e cansativa esta primeira parte, exige uma concentração a nível do rol de personagens muito variado que nos é apresentado, e o ritmo mais lento com que estes eventos são relatados. Mas à medida que nos vamos embrenhando na história, esta vai-se focando nas personagens mais relevantes (que não deixam, por isso, de serem ainda algumas) e as descrições e críticas de Zola vão ficando cada vez mais acutilantes e realistas. Nana é uma personagem, no mínimo, interessante, é-nos descrita uma Nana infantil, egoísta, manipuladora e temperamental, mas ao mesmo tempo é impossível não sentir um certo carinho e compaixão por ela. Usa e abusa dos homens, fazendo com que estes esbanjem o que não têm e não podem com ela, lhe concedam todos os caprichos e desejos, já não sabendo viver sem ela.Mas como refere o excerto, a podridão do povo alcançará também a aristocracia, e Nana verá o seu passado vingado, subjugando a alta sociedade e deixando-os entregues à sua própria destruição, nesta realidade decadente onde se movem. Um livro fabuloso no que se refere à descrição das classes francesas e especialmente da corrupção nas classes mais elevadas na Época de Napoleão III, sendo que Nana é a figura representante da época, evoluindo ambas ao mesmo ritmo.Já há algum tempo que andava curiosa para ler Émile Zola e não podia ter começado melhor, mal posso esperar para deitar mão a outro dos títulos desta série Les Rougon-Mcquart.Era uma carícia aquele nome, um pequenino nome que se familiarizava em todas as bocas, Nana. Nota – Qualquer nome ou excerto, que por algum motivo esteja traduzido de forma diferente ou alterado, deve-se ao facto da minha edição ser de 1968.

  • Linda Leven
    2019-04-03 12:01

    I must disagree with all the previous reviews. I found this book to be one of Zola's most tedious and tiresome. Of course. I am a Trollope lover, and maybe that is what accounts for my dissenting opinion. I will not go through the story. That has been told. I found the book crammed with scenes of large crowds -- at the dinners and salons, at the theatre, at the racetrack-- dozens of miscellaneous characters chattering away, frivolous conversations of meaningless nonsense. And most of these characters were irrelevant. None of them were developed as characters you could understand or recognize nor were they central to the plot. It all became so uninteresting, all this small talk and nonsense.Even the main characters are not very developed--in the sense that Trollope would explain them and work with them until you could understand them thoroughly.Immediately, I understood that Nana was a man-eater out for riches and glory. And that's it. She uses all her men and goes from one to the other -- whoever offers her the most. Then she dies.All very trite and tiresome. I also became bored with the excessive detail Zola goes through describing things and places. I love physical and psychological descriptions of the characters, but to go on for pages and pages over Nana's bedroom or backstage in the theatre, I found, again, tiresome.In fact, I couldn't wait for the book to end! I was watching the movie at the same time, and felt exactly the same. The movie was as uninteresting as the book! I've seen and heard it all before.

  • Elizabeth (Alaska)
    2019-04-04 11:54

    Nana is the daughter of Gervaise from L'Assommoir (The Dram Shop). Nana is a prostitute, hedonist, and narcissist. She has enormous sex appeal, able to attract men of enormous wealth with the crook of her finger.It was very interesting reading this practically on the heels of Balzac's Cousin Bette, which had a similar theme. Balzac is told more from the view of the men, while Zola told from the female viewpoint. Nana's character is very well-developed - one is both fascinated and repelled. The primary male, Count Muffat, is also well-developed, though perhaps just slightly less so.For those who might not be so attracted to a story of a prostitute, included in this story is a fascinating and detailed description of mid-19th Century theatre. The opening and third chapters take place in the Variete with its atmosphere of anticipation on opening night, the stage construction itself, and a good sense of backstage and dressing rooms.

  • Leah Bayer
    2019-04-10 08:13

    Once upon a time, at the age of 13, I stumbled upon this book in the basement. The edition my mom owned had Nana scantily clad on the cover, in a white negligee if I recall correctly. And I thought, "aha! A scandalous book not for children! I'm gonna read it!" Well you got me good, Zola (and also my mom who had planted it as a trap). That scantily clad lady got me to read actual literature. And I loved it.