Zola has rarely displayed the quality of humour,
but it is present in this novella called The Fête at Coqueville
(French original title: La fête à Coqueville).
Coqueville is the name given to a very remote
Norman fishing-village, set in a gorge of rocks, and almost inaccessible
except from the sea. Here a sturdy population of some hundred and eighty
souls, all sprung from two rival families, live in the condition of a
tiny Verona, torn between contending interests. A ship laden with liqueurs
is wrecked on the rocks outside, and one precious cask after another comes
riding into Coqueville over the breakers. The villagers spend a glorious
week of perfumed inebriety...
A very amusingly and very picturesquely told story.
With an essay by Edmund Gosse about The Short Stories of Zola.
Emile Zola (1840-1902)
is a French novelist and critic and the founder of the Naturalist movement
in literature, which he defined as "nature seen through a temperament."
More info about the Rougon-Macquart series at Wikipedia.