This book analyses one of the many levels of complexity not readily apparent to the reader of Zola's fiction: the question of the author's family secrets. The novels addressed here present a variety of sub-textual issues highlighting Zola's sexual insecurity and anxiety. Their analysis reveals a mystery related to female sexuality that pervades the narratives of Therese Raquin and La Fortune des Rougon, and that is silently transmitted in Madeleine Ferat, La Faute de l'Abbe Mouret, La Bete humaine, La Curee, Nana, Le Docteur Pascal and Verite. The novels are explored from the standpoint of psychoanalytical criticism, a tool particularly appropriate for examining Zola's language and illuminating the recurrent theme of "the Return of the repressed". Four psychoanalytical theories are adopted: Nicolas Abraham's and Maria Toroks' theories of psychic development (presenting the concept of the phantom) and Sigmund Freud's and Jacques Lacan's theories of infantile sexuality.