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

The Fat and the Thin   By: (1840-1902)

Book cover

Émile Zola's "The Fat and the Thin" is a captivating novel that delves into the complexities of human nature and societal norms. Set in the bustling city of Paris during the late 19th century, Zola skillfully crafts a narrative that exposes the stark contrasts between two distinct groups of individuals - the indulgent bourgeoisie and the impoverished working class.

The story revolves around the lives of two central characters, the gluttonous François, a wealthy bourgeois business owner, and the impoverished, hardworking, and morally upright Léon. As the plot unfolds, Zola masterfully intertwines their lives, drawing the reader into a web of conflicting desires, power dynamics, and the struggle for societal acceptance.

One of the most striking aspects of Zola's novel is his vivid and meticulous portrayal of the characters. François represents the excessive indulgence and moral decadence of the bourgeoisie, lured by material possessions, while Léon embodies the resilience and dignity of the working class. Their stark contrast serves as a powerful critique of the societal divide and the moral decay prevalent within the bourgeois society.

Another notable aspect of the novel is Zola's commentary on the role of society's norms and expectations. Through his characters, he explores the pressure to conform to societal standards, particularly regarding appearances and social status. Zola masterfully exposes the hypocrisies and intricacies of the bourgeois obsession with image and the lengths they would go to preserve their social status.

Moreover, Zola's writing style is masterful, engaging the reader with its eloquence and depth. His descriptive language creates vivid imagery that brings the streets of Paris to life, immersing the reader in the bustling cityscape. The narrative's pacing is well-balanced, with moments of intense drama and introspection seamlessly woven together.

"The Fat and the Thin" not only serves as a captivating story but also as a powerful social critique. Zola's exploration of the human condition, societal expectations, and class disparities resonates even in today's society. Through nuanced characterizations and thought-provoking themes, Zola leaves readers with a lingering reflection on the implications of moral decay and the perpetuation of social divisions.

In conclusion, "The Fat and the Thin" is an exceptional novel that combines engaging storytelling, powerful characterizations, and insightful social commentary. Émile Zola's skillful writing captivates the reader, making this book a must-read for those seeking a thought-provoking exploration of human nature and societal norms.

First Page:



By Emile Zola

Translated, With An Introduction, By Ernest Alfred Vizetelly

Let me have men about me that are fat: Sleek headed men, and such as sleep o' nights: Yond' Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous. SHAKESPEARE: Julius Caesar , act i, sc. 2.


"THE FAT AND THE THIN," or, to use the French title, "Le Ventre de Paris," is a story of life in and around those vast Central Markets which form a distinctive feature of modern Paris. Even the reader who has never crossed the Channel must have heard of the Parisian Halles , for much has been written about them, not only in English books on the French metropolis, but also in English newspapers, magazines, and reviews; so that few, I fancy, will commence the perusal of the present volume without having, at all events, some knowledge of its subject matter.

The Paris markets form such a world of their own, and teem at certain hours of the day and night with such exuberance of life, that it was only natural they should attract the attention of a novelist like M. Zola, who, to use his own words, delights "in any subject in which vast masses of people can be shown in motion." Mr. Sherard tells us[] that the idea of "Le Ventre de Paris" first occurred to M... 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