Translation by Roger Pearson (and Notes and Introduction¹).
Lots of good stuff on Twitter, see hashtag #GerminalAlong. Good times talking about horrible times in the mining regions of France in the 1860s.
I found three pie mentions:
p.89 “Just you wait, you dirty little scamp. I’ll teach you to make mud-pies indeed!”
p.127 “… so to he had come to recognize them, the way one recognizes amorous magpies disporting in the pear trees in the garden.”²
p.171 “…You know it’s all pie in the sky³…”
I also consider these a cousin of pie – it’s a pastry filled with goodness, so it counts.
<– a vol-au-vent.
Zola amazes me. I’ve read Thérèse Raquin and was blown away by the grit and darkness, the skill in the story-telling, the audacity to write it in the first place. [My review of that here.] It doesn’t do much to inspire a love for much of humanity – he skewers everyone; but it is a reminder that literature is art. Germinal solidifies my understanding of the ‘naturalism literary movement’. Oh I wish I had majored in literature in college. Maybe I’ll go back when I retire.
Germinal couldn’t sound more boring and yet it is so alive! He makes history touchable / “feel-able” / real and I see why he is and was held in high regard. Skip it if you aren’t in the least bit curious, definitely read it if you want to experience history in all its grittiness and be transported to another place and time. Zola manages to capture so many motivations and is incisive yet gentle with all. Brilliant.
Rating: Five slices of pie.
BIG SHOUT OUT to all my readalongers! Especially Top Host Melissa (here’s her review).
1 – I didn’t read the Notes and I read the Intro after, as recommended.
2 – Unverified internet research has told me that the word magpie came before ‘pie’ and may have influenced what we call these pastries. See here.
³ – I found a Slate magazine article explaining the phrase ‘pie in the sky’: … coined by a champion of the American proletariat. “Pie in the sky” comes from an early 20th-century folk song written by labor activist Joe Hill, aka Joe Hillstrom, a legendary member of the Industrial Workers of the World.