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(Les Rougon-Macquart #18)

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  1,939 ratings  ·  152 reviews
'The irresistible power of money, a lever that can lift the world. Love and money are the only things.'
Aristide Rougon, known as Saccard, is a failed property speculator determined to make his way once more in Paris. Unscrupulous, seductive, and with unbounded ambition, he schemes and manipulates his way to power. Financial undertakings in the Middle East lead to the esta
Paperback, Oxford World’s Classics, 432 pages
Published March 1st 2014 by Oxford University Press (first published 1891)
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Average rating 3.94  · 
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Start your review of Money (Les Rougon-Macquart #18)
Zola's money: further proof that the Rougon Macquart saga is a timeless marker of human societies' evolution!
We are back, after the Curée, in the world of money. Big money, that of the Stock Exchange, which made to flow for the sole pleasure of feeling it flow, even if it means devastating in its wake all that gave birth and growing it, viable and valuable economic projects such as the illusions of the little people.
This unalterable thirst thrills Saccard, a magnificent trickster, crooked financ
Prometheus at the Stock Exchange

The story and my opinion about it:

Inspired by the bankruptcy of the Union Générale bank, heralding the krach of 1882, l'Argent (The Money) is a sort of The Ladies' Paradise transposed from the department store to high finance and the stock exchange, with Mme Caroline as a spare Denise Baudu, more or less.

You can find the same unbridled lure for profit, compulsive behaviour, irrational enthusiasms and panics, multiplied tenfold by the part played by word of mouth:
E. G.
Translator's Note
Select Bibliography
A Chronology of Émile Zola


Explanatory Notes
Gary Inbinder
1 Timothy 6:10
King James Version
For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

I don't care too much for money
Money can't buy me love
The Beatles

Money makes the world go around
It makes the world go 'round.

They can beg and they can plead
But they can't see the light (that's right)
'Cause the boy with the cold hard cash
Is always mister right

'Cause we are living in a material wo
Jul 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The disappearance of the obscenely ambitious, gloriously grandiose attempt to encapsulate all of society in a series of novels is one of literature’s great tragedies. In France, this peculiarly nineteenth century project was carried out successively by Balzac, Flaubert and Zola. Between them, these men spanned almost the entirety of France’s tempestuous nineteenth century. Whereas Flaubert concentrated on the nuanced intricacies of individual psyches and Balzac the complex choreography of social ...more
MJ Nicholls
One of the later entries in Zola’s epic saga of Second Empire life, this sweeping shambles of a novel chronicles the rise and fall of the amoral stockbroker Saccard and the cast of amoral numbskulls and unfortunate losers caught up in the swirl of the Fowl Franc. The plot is straightforward riches to riches to riches to riches to rags matter, and the writing leans on some of Zola’s less appealing traits: colossal info-dumping, long explanatory passages, and awkward transitions between scenes (th ...more
Jan 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: zola
Not the best of his I have read, but still excellent. His exploration of the money markets and of anti-semitism are both expertly done, and thoroughly engaging. Zola continues to rise in the ranks of my favourites authors.
Sotiris Karaiskos
Jan 31, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
A book that puts us at the heart of the financial system of the second empire. In this, the successful swindler of the previous book (in the order of reading suggested by the author) has been financially ruined and is betting everything on one last big and very risky plan. This risk, however, does not prevent many from participating in this plan, expecting a quick profit. People from all walks of life are involved, from millionaires who are always asking for more to poor people who risk their ec ...more
J.M. Hushour
Feb 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For those new to my ever-swelling fanbase, I am reading the "Rougons-Macquart" series in its entirety, using Zola's own suggested reading order. "Money", the fourth novel, is about Aristide Saccard, the same Rougon from "The Kill". This time, the wily financier constructs an investment scheme in the Near East, creates a fortune, and then destroys through his greed and iniquity every single person around him. Well, almost all. Hardly redeeming and quite grim, a world distant from the creepy inces ...more
Mary Durrant
Nov 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The irresistible power of money and love.

Aristide Rougon know as Saccard, is a failed property speculator determined to make his mark once more in Paris.
Unscrupulous seductive and with unbounded ambition.
He schemes and manipulates his way back .
Establishes a new bank and speculates on the stock market.
He also conducts his love life like he does his business.
What happens when one goes too far?
His empire seems unstoppable.
There is a chequered past which comes back to haunt him.
Money isn't everythi
Aug 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: emile-zola
Show me the money. Talk about greed and avarice. This novel as it all. Aristide Siccard still the conman is a financier who comes up with an audacious scam and is like a latter day banker or stock broker today. Selling people dreams which ultimately turn into nightmares. This novel reminds me of the 2008 banking crisis and the Great Depression and stock market crash.

The Universal Bank was another Northern Rock. What was clear was aside from a few of the major investors as it is today there is n
Elizabeth (Alaska)
Another Zola winner! As I was reading, I thought, "Zola's characters live with such passion." And then, late in the novel, much to my surprise, was this: . . . if my passion kills me, it is also my passion that gives me life.

Not surprisingly, given the title, this novel is about money. A character in Dickens' Dombey and Son asks "what can money do?" This is one answer. It's almost as if money itself is a character, but only almost. It is it's necessity, it's acquisition, it's representation of p

I'm 60% through this novel and I'm thinking about bailing... Zola wanted to explore all the "types" of Napoleon III's era, but greedy speculators of the French Bourse does not, an interesting read make. This is especially boring in light of the trump effort to fuck up every element of the global economy for no apparent reason... sad.



Alors, I'm finished with another Saccard novel (aka Aristide Rougon), and beyond greed and poor judgement, I can't say I know m
Jul 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ever so much better than I expected. The strictly financial parts were tedious at times but the personal stories of the characters was varied and excellent reading. Zola did a great job of presenting the theme and wrapping things up.
Christine Liu
Jan 09, 2022 rated it liked it
Of the twenty Rougon-Macquart novels, this was the 18th to be written, published in 1891, but chronologically it's set just after the events of La Curée / The Kill, making it the fourth in Zola's recommended reading order. In this book we catch up with Aristide Rougon, who goes by Saccard, as he refuses to let his financial failures in property speculation keep him down and embarks on a new, not quite legal, definitely unethical scheme to create a new bank.

All the Rougon-Macquart novels I've rea
This is the eighteenth book in Zola's Rougon-Macquart series of twenty books and it is the thirteenth one that I have read. It is a sort of sequel to The Kill as it continues the story of Saccard, a.k.a. Aristide Rougon. As with all the books in the series it is completely self-contained and can be read with no knowledge of the other books in the series, though the reader will get more from it if they read The Kill first. The Kill is a more interesting read and is available in a modern translati ...more
Oct 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Zola deals with money and the stock exchange .... and also greed, debt and selfishness. All good material for Zola!
Greg Brozeit
Feb 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: zola
A satisfying novel about economic and social realities of the French Second Empire filled with intriguing, complex characters and relevant historical lessons. Chronologically, this is the 18th of 20 of Zola's Rougon-Macquart cycle, but recommended by him as the fourth to be read.

Here we encounter Aristide Rougon (known as Saccard) for the third time. In The Fortune of the Rougons, Aristide is a vacillating, opportunistic young man. In The Kill he becomes Saccard, a man driven to acquire wealth b
Feb 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was lucky enough to read a 1902 edition of this amazing book. The preface, written by its English translator, set an ominous tone in stating: this “publication is well timed, for the rottenness of our financial world has become such a crying scandal… that the absolute urgency of reform can no longer be ignored.” Unfortunately, Zola’s account of financial speculation remains timely.

Set in Paris in the 1860s, Money, is the story of Aristide Saccard who wants to do with money what Napoleon could
Oct 25, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: rougon-macquart
I had fond, albeit vague, memories of a gripping star-studded 1988 TV adaptation of L’Argent. Alas, the Internet failed to deliver a copy of it, though there is a full copy of a pretty different 1928 adaptation. But here, have a picture of Miou-Miou as Caroline Hamelin, since that’s who I pictured as I read the book:

(link doesn’t inspire confidence so apologies if it’s gone by the time anyone stumbles across this review)

…Anyway, back to the actual book…

This time, the setting is the Paris sto
Marcos Augusto
Mar 06, 2022 rated it really liked it
The novel focuses on the financial world of the Second French Empire as embodied in the Paris Bourse and exemplified by the fictional character of Aristide Saccard. Zola's intent was to show the terrible effects of speculation and fraudulent company promotion, the culpable negligence of company directors, and the impotency of contemporary financial laws.

Aristide Saccard (b. 1815 as Aristide Rougon) is the youngest son of Pierre and Félicité Rougon. He is first introduced in La fortune des Rougon
Eve Kay
Apr 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites

This novel is very tricky to rate or review since I had such strongly opposing feelings about it whilst reading. On the other hand the subject of money matters, yep, pun intended, Zola was way too detailed and sorry to have to say this, boring. On the other hand, all other subjects he handled so brilliantly: Character development, plot twists, etc.
On top of it, the ending really weaved it all together beautifully.

The story very shortly is about Saccard Rougon and his ambitious intention to r
Jul 31, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-owned
"There's nothing like ill-gotten gains for making money!"

Zola understands what drives the dark side of human nature better than any other writer I've encountered. Each novel in the Rougon-Macquart cycle explores a different avenue through which characters either embrace their own self-destructive tendencies or carry on obliviously as their desires--often driven by serious displacement of aggressive or sexual urges--lead them to inevitable ruin. Money is the 18th novel in the Rougon-Marqaurt ser
Joseph Costello
Something of a slog to get through this I must say but the only existing English translation as far as I can tell and sad completist that I am, I have no option but to read this version, wait for a new translation or learn French.

This story of financial impropriety resonates with what we have seen across the globe in recent years but this translation completed in 1894 really was extremely heavy going. I have been ploughing through the Rougon-Macquart cycle for almost four years and wherever pos
Apr 27, 2014 rated it liked it
Definitely the least enjoyable of the five Rougon-Macquart novels I've read. Zola doesn't get under the fingernails and into the pores of his characters here like he does in other novels in the series. In fact the characters all kind of blend and merge together and I began to have real difficulty telling them apart. Also in general, money is just not a subject I can muster much interest in. Talk of shares and promissory notes and investments wearied me before too long and at times I forgot I was ...more
Barbara Jaques
Aug 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Harder going for me than the others I've read, which I think of as comfort reads, hence 3 stars. But well worth the effort. There's lots to be learned and all with Zola's usual insight. An un-censored translation, this made for a gritty read; very relevant. I'm undecided as to whether a re-read would be painful, or pleasantly enlightening. ...more
Laurel Hicks
I read the English translation, Money, translated by Valerie Minogue, in which we learn that what goes up with treachery and hatred and twisted love must come crashing down. But perhaps we can pick up the pieces and rise again....
Jun 28, 2020 rated it liked it
If only she had the power, she would have destroyed all the money in the world, as one would crush disease underfoot to save the world's health.

Money is a bit of a slog, to be honest, and certainly not Zola at his height. Most of his strengths are still in evidence: a clear-eyed writing style, characters deeply at odds with one another while acting entirely in concert with their own biases and world views, gorgeous and expansive passages of symbolism contrasted with intricate moments of characte
Apr 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As Zola's The Masterpiece (reviewed here) is about art, the subject of Money is money, money, money, filthy lucre and all that. Aristide Rougon (known somewhat mysteriously as Saccard) loves the stuff. Saccard is an unscrupulous financier, rapist and fantasist who would sell his soul (again) to recapture his lost fortune and rule the Bourse (the nineteenth century French stockmarket). He lives in the house of the widowed Princess d'Orviedo, who is busy deliberately impoverishing herself by pouri ...more
Lars Williams
“Then Madame Caroline acquired the sudden conviction that money was the dung heap in which grew the humanity of tomorrow…”

‘Money’ (L’Argent) is the 18th of the Rougon-Macquart cycle by publication order, and the fourth in Zola’s list of recommended reading order. It follows naturally from ‘The Kill’, as an account of the continuing financial misadventures of Aristide Saccard (Rougon), wide-boy financier, speculator and all-round loveable rogue. Having suffered financial ruin through property spe
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Émile François Zola was an influential French novelist, the most important example of the literary school of naturalism, and a major figure in the political liberalization of France.

More than half of Zola's novels were part of a set of 20 books collectively known as Les Rougon-Macquart. Unlike Balzac who in the midst of his literary career resynthesized his work into La Comédie Humaine, Zola from

Other books in the series

Les Rougon-Macquart (1 - 10 of 20 books)
  • The Fortune of the Rougons
  • La Curée
  • The Belly of Paris
  • La Conquête de Plassans (Les Rougon-Macquart, #4)
  • La Faute de l'abbé Mouret (Les Rougon-Macquart, #5)
  • Son Excellence Eugène Rougon (Les Rougon-Macquart, #6)
  • L'Assommoir
  • Une Page d'amour
  • Nana
  • Pot Luck

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