Books Should Be Free
Loyal Books
Free Public Domain Audiobooks & eBook Downloads
Search by: Title, Author or Keyword

L'Assommoir   By: (1840-1902)

Book cover

L'Assommoir by Émile Zola is a compelling and harrowing tale set in the heart of Paris during the late 19th century. Through his vivid and unflinching descriptions, Zola offers readers an immersive experience into the lives of the working class.

The novel revolves around the life of Gervaise Macquart, a laundress struggling to make ends meet. Zola’s realistic portrayal of Gervaise's hardships and her descent into poverty and addiction is both poignant and heartbreaking. As the story unfolds, we witness Gervaise's transformation from a determined woman with dreams of prosperity to a broken soul trapped in the vicious cycle of alcoholism.

One of the strengths of L'Assommoir is Zola's exploration of the social and economic conditions that contribute to Gervaise’s downfall. With his sharp eye for detail, he exposes the harsh realities faced by the working class, from their meager wages to the deplorable living conditions in the slums. Zola's ability to capture the desperation and hopelessness of these circumstances is commendable.

Another noteworthy aspect of the novel is Zola's uncompromising depiction of alcoholism and its devastating consequences. He vividly portrays the allure and gradual destruction caused by excessive drinking, giving readers a stark warning about the dangers of addiction. By intertwining Gervaise's story with the lives of other characters grappling with similar issues, Zola presents a powerful critique of the societal factors responsible for perpetuating this destructive cycle.

Furthermore, Zola’s character development is exceptional. Each character, no matter how minor, is intricately developed and contributes to the overall narrative. From Coupeau, Gervaise's husband, whose descent into alcoholism parallels her own, to Lantier, a seductive and manipulative figure who preys on vulnerable women, Zola creates a cast of deeply flawed individuals that feel undeniably real.

Despite its dark themes and grim depiction of human suffering, L'Assommoir is a thought-provoking novel that resonates with readers. Zola's masterful storytelling and his ability to evoke empathy for his characters ensure that the story remains engaging throughout. While the subject matter can be challenging, it underscores the enduring power of literature to shed light on the darkest corners of society.

In conclusion, L'Assommoir is a remarkable work of literature that examines the societal and personal factors that contribute to the downfall of its characters. Zola's honest portrayal of poverty, addiction, and the struggles of the working class make this novel a powerful and unforgettable read.

First Page:


By Emile Zola



Gervaise had waited and watched for Lantier until two in the morning. Then chilled and shivering, she turned from the window and threw herself across the bed, where she fell into a feverish doze with her cheeks wet with tears. For the last week when they came out of the Veau a Deux Tetes, where they ate, he had sent her off to bed with the children and had not appeared until late into the night and always with a story that he had been looking for work.

This very night, while she was watching for his return, she fancied she saw him enter the ballroom of the Grand Balcon, whose ten windows blazing with lights illuminated, as with a sheet of fire, the black lines of the outer boulevards. She caught a glimpse of Adele, a pretty brunette who dined at their restaurant and who was walking a few steps behind him, with her hands swinging as if she had just dropped his arm, rather than pass before the bright light of the globes over the door in his company.

When Gervaise awoke about five o'clock, stiff and sore, she burst into wild sobs, for Lantier had not come in. For the first time he had slept out. She sat on the edge of the bed, half shrouded in the canopy of faded chintz that hung from the arrow fastened to the ceiling by a string. Slowly, with her eyes suffused with tears, she looked around this miserable chambre garnie , whose furniture consisted of a chestnut bureau of which one drawer was absent, three straw chairs and a greasy table on which was a broken handled pitcher... Continue reading book >>

eBook Downloads
ePUB eBook
• iBooks for iPhone and iPad
• Nook
• Sony Reader
Kindle eBook
• Mobi file format for Kindle
Read eBook
• Load eBook in browser
Text File eBook
• Computers
• Windows
• Mac

Review this book

Popular Genres
More Genres
Paid Books