Pauline Quenu, the daughter of shopkeepers in
the Parisian business district Les Halles (see The Fat and the Thin, aka
The Belly of Paris), is taken in by relatives on the coast of Normandy
following the death of her parents. There, Pauline – kind and open-minded
– is confronted with a gout-plagued host, his avaricious wife, and their
lazy son, a morbid hypochondriac, whom she is expected to marry.
the family takes advantage of Pauline, using up the inheritance her parents
left to her, Pauline is gradually transformed into a dejected and resigned
Death and accident soon hang over the small house on the
More info about the Rougon-Macquart series at Wikipedia.