Monday, July 21, 2014


Nana by Zola, Emile, 485 pages

I started reading Nana after I saw it in a list of banned books. The book had been banned in Yugoslavia and Ireland and the writings of Zola were banned in England and was listed on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum, which was the list of books prohibited by the Vatican until the list was abolished in 1966.

As I read it I could not understand why this book was banned. I know it came from an earlier time but asides from prostitution, lack or morals and some vulgarity there is not anything overly bad about it. After some looking it seems that the reason people objected to it was the heroine of the story being a prostitute and for exposing the desires of men in the era in a bad light.

This is actually the ninth part of a twenty volume set by Zola. I did not find that out till afterwards, but apparently reading them in order gives you the proper introduction of the characters versus the casual ones provided in Nana. The book can be read on its own though, if you are patient.

The book overall is only fair and despite all of the characters falling in love with Nana by the end I was hoping she would meet some horrible fate.

If the novel would come out now it would not even receive a passing glance. If I am to continue this reading of banned books I might have to focus on the newer ones, as most of these seem to be banned just for being progressive for their time.

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