The Rougon-Macquart Series: Natural and social history of a family under the Second Empire

"Respectable people...What bastards!" Rake-thin and exhausted prisoner Florent, wrongly convicted during the 1848 Revolution, escapes and seeks refuge with his half-brother in Paris. Florent finds a job at the local central market Les Halles. Initially he is met with a baffled but friendly warmth.