Blackwell North Amer With its naturalistic description and street argot, L'Assommoir vividly evokes the poverty and squalor beneath the superficial glamour of Parisian life under the Second Empire. But in telling the story of the rise and downfall of the laundress Gervaise Macquart, Zola surmounts his moral and social intentions.
Oxford University Press The seventh novel in the Rougon-Macquart cycle, L'Assommoir (1877) is the story of a woman's struggle for happiness in working-class Paris. At the center of the story stands Gervaise, who starts her own laundry and for a time makes a success of it. But her husband soon squanders her earnings in the Assommoir, a local drinking spot, and gradually the pair sink into poverty and squalor.. L'Assommoir was a contemporary bestseller, outraged conservative critics, and launched a passionate debate about the legitimate scope of modern literature. This new translation captures not only the brutality but the pathos of its characters' lives.