Doctor Pascal (The Rougon-Macquart Cycle, Book 20; Oxford World's Classics)
'There's something of everything there, the best and the worst,the vulgar and the sublime, flowers, muck, tears, laughter, theriver of life itself'Pascal Rougon has served as a doctor in the rural French town ofPlassans for thirty years. He lives a quiet life with his faithfulservant Martine and young niece Clotilde. Pascal is a man ofscience, striving to find the ultimate cure for all diseases. Thisputs him at odds with his niece, who is horrified by his denial ofreligious faith. Clotilde also distrusts Pascal's lifelong ambitionto create a family tree on scientific principles, based upon histheories of heredity. Tensions in the household are fuelled byPascal's scheming mother, Félicité, as the final episode in thegreat Rougon-Macquart saga plays out. Dr Pascal is the passionateconclusion to Zola's twenty-novel sequence, and the most eloquentexpression of the ideas on heredity and human progress that haveunderpinned it. Human relations are at its heart, as Pascal andClotilde are bound ever closer by ties of family and love.