This won the Prix Renaudot (1937). Almost too ambitious in scope, covering as it does the political and social history of France from 1900 to 1912, cross sectioning various strata of bourgeois society and presenting a dozen major characters and a supporting cast of forty odd. Aragon compares in many ways with Zola with his kaleidoscopic treatment, his naturalistic tendencies to portray gross and unrestrained appetites. Here, with a socialistic banner he offers a solution to the chaotic social picture, with somewhat uncoordinated results. This may be due in part to this book being one of a series, so that one loses sight of characters in shifting scenes. The book has its mordant irony, sound realism and vitality.