first published March 1885
synopsis via Goodreads: The thirteenth novel in Émile Zola’s great Rougon-Macquart sequence, Germinal expresses outrage at the exploitation of the many by the few, but also shows humanity’s capacity for compassion and hope.
Etienne Lantier, an unemployed railway worker, is a clever but uneducated young man with a dangerous temper. Forced to take a back-breaking job at Le Voreux mine when he cannot get other work, he discovers that his fellow miners are ill, hungry, and in debt, unable to feed and clothe their families. When conditions in the mining community deteriorate even further, Lantier finds himself leading a strike that could mean starvation or salvation for all.
disclaimer: do not read this if you are sensitive to animals being left to drown in a mine, if you are sensitive to rape, exploitation of womanhood, graphic content, gore (someones pee-pee gets cut off, and no not the bad guys)
I gave it 3/5 stars because I thought it was okay. the miners are really mediocre dumb people easily swayed by ideas and empty promises, and I loathed the main character who just so full of bullshit.
The book perfectly described the society ladder and how people should just accept where they belong if they dont have the brain to do more. I hated the main girl who sold herself for a ribbon and played to whomever gave her a favor. so while its kind of double standard, I dont think her husband deserved to die for wanting to sleep with her and her being “rescued ” by someone else who just wanted to nail her the same way. if she had no more dignity than to sell herself for a frickin piece of red ribbon she redeems herself to that value and doesnt have the right to bitch about her own husband who gave her his salary what he did earn the same hard way as everyone else by sniffing the coal dust down in the mines.