Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tuesday Intro: The Belly of Paris

In the silence of a deserted avenue, wagons stuffed with produce made their way toward Paris, their thudding wheels rhythmically echoing off the houses sleeping behind rows of elm trees meandering on either side of the road. At the pont de Neuilly, a cart full of cabbages and another full of peas met up with eight carts of turnips and carrots coming in from Nanterre. The horses, their heads bent low, led themselves with their lazy, steady pace, a bit slowed by the slight uphill climb. Up on the carts, lying in their stomachs in the vegetables, wrapped in their black-and-gray-striped wool coats, the drivers slept with the reigns in their fists. Occasionally the light from a gas lamp would grope its way through the shadows and brighten the hobnail of a boot, the blue sleeve of a blouse, or the tip of a hat poking from the bright bloom of vegetables--red bouquets of carrots, white bouquets of turnips, or the bursting greenery of peas and cabbages.

The Belly of Paris
by Emile Zola
translated by Mark Kurlansky

This first paragraph doesn't have me bursting with excitement, but Zola certainly paints a vivid picture! I've enjoyed a couple of his novels and many short stories, but am still trying to decide on my next read. I hate this in-between book stage...

Tuesday Intros is hosted by Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea.

17 comments:

  1. It doesn't grab me in a "I want to know what happens next" sort of way, but I want to carry on reading just because of the writing!

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  2. I just read this one recently and it's a beautiful book. More standoffish than some of Zola's others, but incredibly well done. Especially this translation.

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  3. Any title with "belly" and "Paris" surely can't be all that bad!

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  4. I read that and think, gosh, I hope the people who buy those vegetables wash them! LOL!

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  5. I hope you enjoy this one. I have yet to venture into any Zola.

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  6. Nymeth - Exactly! I'm trying to decide which type of writing I'm in the mood for this week.

    Amanda - I spent some time comparing translations before purchasing this edition...glad to hear I chose the right one!

    Sandy - Has sort of a universal appeal, no?

    Rhapsody -LOL! That thought crossed my mind, too;-)

    Reviewsbylola - I really like Zola. Just trying to gauge my mood today...

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  7. I actually love the first paragraph! It's very descriptive and even though it's not the type of book I usually read, the way it's written makes me want to keep reading.

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  8. Did he have cabbage on the brain? :)

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  9. I didn't make it all the way through the one Zola novel I've tried so far. It's terrific writing, I'll grant you. No question about that. I think I just got lost in all the description. Eventually, I'll give him another go.

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  10. I would continue reading this one, as i love the way the scene is so beautifully described. I bet this is a good one. Enjoy

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  11. Beautiful! You can't go wrong with Zola.

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  12. I'm not grabbed, but there is something in that bit of light hitting the hobnail boot that is intriguing...

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  13. Vicki - I've decided to keep going!

    Care - LOL!

    C.B. James - Definitely lots of description, but I'm going to continue. I'm curious about which novel you started...you may enjoy his stories more.

    Diane - I loved the way he described the fabrics, colors, and textures of the department store in The Ladies' Paradise, too.

    Marie - I haven't been disappointed by Zola yet.

    DS - Exactly. I'm not totally sold, but that glimmer keeps me reading for now.

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  14. It's not the most exciting first paragraph but I like the writing very much and now have images of horse drawn wagons of veggies in my head!

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  15. Amy - It's been a week, but I haven't managed to get back to this one... got sidetracked with The Language of Baklava.

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  16. I've never read this author so I anxiously wait to see if you will continue to read it or not!!

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  17. Staci - I started reading something else last week, but I do plan to get back to The Belly of Paris soon.

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Thank you for taking the time to comment. These conversations are my favorite part of blogging. Please check back, I almost always respond to comments!

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