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The Three Cities Trilogy - Lourdes

Émile Zola

Book Overview: 

This book describes a five day national pilgrimage to the holy shrine of Lourdes, where miracle cures are hoped for. The central character is a priest, Pierre, whose faith is faltering. He is accompanying his childhood sweetheart who has been stricken with paralysis and whose faith is strong. In the background of the great irony of this relationship, there are numerous sub-plots, some tragic, some whimsical, involving a large number of characters, set in the midst of organised chaos in the pilgrimage site. Through Pierre's mental and spiritual experiences Zola explores the role of religious faith in a society coming to terms with science and reason.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .re were others and yet others who were completely cured by merely letting a few drops of water fall into their ears or upon their tongues. Then came the procession of the blind: Father Hermann, who felt the Blessed Virgin’s gentle hand removing the veil which covered his eyes; Mademoiselle de Pontbriant, who was threatened with a total loss of sight, but after a simple prayer was enabled to see better than she had ever seen before; then a child twelve years old whose corneas resembled marbles, but who, in three seconds, became possessed of clear, deep eyes, bright with an angelic smile. However, there was especially an abundance of paralytics, of lame people suddenly enabled to walk upright, of sufferers for long years powerless to stir from their beds of misery and to whom the voice said: “Arise and walk!” Delannoy,* afflicted with ataxia, vainly cauterised and burnt, fifteen t. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Lourdes was first published in 1894. Zola first conceived of the book when he visited Lourdes in September 1891 and was taken aback by the number of pilgrims that visited the shrine to the Virgin Mary. He returned the following year during August, which is the busiest period for pilgrimages, and in

This is the first of Emile Zola's "Cities" trilogy, with Rome and Paris to follow. It was fabulous, the best book I have read in a few years. I was quite hesitant to read this two volume book (777 pages) as I had heard it was about an Abbe's search to regain his faith. I thought it might be rather d

This is the first Emile Zola book I have read. I am impressed how confidently, gracefully, and comprehensively Zola describes the good and the bad at Lourdes, a spiritual site where the sick go for physical, emotional, and spiritual healing.

My takeaway after reading this novel: Vacations/Journeys o

Une très bonne surprise ! Il m'a fallu du temps pour être tentée par le cycle des 3 villes de Zola, mais ce premier tome est renversant !

كان من الطبيعي أن تثير هذه الرواية الجديدة مزيداً من ثائرة اليمين الفرنسي والإيطالي المتطرف، خصوصاً أن الرواية نشرت مسلسلة في صحيفة «الجورنال» الباريسية، وصحيفة «لاتريبونا» في روما خلال عام 1898 لتنشر بعد ذلك في كتاب. وهنا إزاء رد الفعل الغاضب الذي كان لرواية «روما» والذي ساهم في رفع مبيعاتها إلى أر

This is a very hard-hitting novel. It raises issues on belief, faith, miracles, prayer – Christianity in particular.

Our central character is Pierre, a priest, but who is entirely disenchanted – he no longer believes. We follow him on his journey from Paris to Lourdes in the southwest of France. He i

this is the first of Zola's trilogy, which at this moment is feeling like a bigger commitment than i can make, but i managed to get through it in record time. unfortunately the quickness of the read wasn't due so much to my investment in the plot (what little there is), or the brilliance of the writ

Όταν τελείωσα την ιστορία της οικογένειας των Ρουγκόν –Μακάρ, αυτήν την απίστευτη περιπέτεια της ανθρώπινης κληρονομικότητας όπως την ξεδιπλώνει ο Ζολά μέσα σε είκοσι ολόκληρους τόμους, αναρωτιόμουν για τον αν ο αγαπημένος μου συγγραφέας θα μπορούσε να συνεχίσει με κάτι εξίσου μεγαλειώδες ή αν θα με

Attention Classic lovers, I was introduced to this French author some years ago and have loved his writing ever since. Lourdes is Book 1 in his Three Cities Trilogy, his fictional account of the story of the famous pilgrimage of healing in the Grotto. I have learned so much, albeit Zola’s views abou

Set amidst a wonderful and pastoral scenery of Lourdes, the novel offers a horrifying, apocalyptic vision of terror and dismay which are being traded unscrupulously. Having reached rock bottom, ill and miserable human beings turn to deception and superstition, to stupefying rituals and promised heav

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