Finished reading GERMINAL by Emile Zola, a prolific 19th century French writer. This novel is Zola's masterpiece and one of the most significant novels in the French language. First published in 1885, GERMINAL is a harsh and realistic portrayal of coalminers' appalling working and living conditions in northern France in the 1860s. The miners' struggles against their exploiting bosses climaxed with a protracted strike and destruction of one mine through sabotage. The rebellion was suppressed violently.