Thérèse Raquin by Émile Zola
(Here's my attempt at phoenetic French for ya. You say it kind of like this: Teh-rez Ra-kun.)
Mmkay. I want you to ignore that old-as-feez book cover up there and just listen to me.
You listening? Aiight.
I loved this book. No, really! It's so good. I was completely wrapped up in it, and I didn't intend to be. Here's a list of all the reasons I bought it:
1. Kate Winslet was reading the audio book version.
So I chose this one because I don't hate Kate Winslet's voice and it sounded like the kind of thing smart people have read.
Who would have thought I'd like it? But I totally did.
This book is anything BUT boring. Therese is a young woman who marries her wimpy cousin (they did that then, remember?) because his mom kind of takes care of her and she has nothing better going on--homeboy is better than nothing. So she goes and moves in with them and starts her boring life with Mumsy. Lo and behold, a hot artist BFF of Sir Wimpsalot starts coming around--Laurent--and he and Therese start getting it on all the time while her MIL is running the shop and her husband is being all sickly and annoying. Though this secret couple is cool with their adultery, Therese's husbacousin, Camille (not a girl's name--it's France, dude) is totes getting in the way. So they do what any rational people would do: they plot and carry out his murder. By drowning. And guess how the whole happily ever after thing works out for them once he's in the ground? NOT SO WELL. The whole "we killed your bestie and my husband" thing makes them go a little cold. They turn on each other and get mean. It continues from there, blah blah haunted, blah blah anger, etc.
I don't know anything about how other people perceive this book or whether or not it is popular. But it was a great read/listen. There were lots of similarities (in terms of guilt, shame, obsession) to MacBeth. I kept thinking about how it would make a great movie or miniseries if it was set now. A little soap-opera-ish, but that has its place. Totally enjoyed it until the end.
My recommendation: A good one. A classic that doesn't feel stuffy.