By Émile Zola
This story seeps into your insides—the way Zola describes the intensity of the relationship between a woman and the man with whom she has an affair. When you meet Thérèse, she barely speaks. She's so numb and stagnant. I think we've all been in those emotional places at one time or another. That lack of courage, lack of confidence, has always profoundly disturbed me. She is transformed through passion and desperation. She and Laurent love each other so much that everything else fades away. They don't think beyond being together. And, of course, it's the act that makes that possible—drowning her husband—that destroys them.