For our book club meeting on Wed 6 March, we read Germinal by Émile Zola.
Étienne Lantier, an unemployed railway worker, is a clever but uneducated young man with a dangerous temper. Compelled 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. The thirteenth novel in Zola’s great Rougon-Macquart sequence, Germinal expresses ourtage at the exploitation of the many by the few, but also shows humanity’s capacity for compassion and hope.