The Ladies' Paradise

The Ladies' Paradise

Paperback - 2008
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"Through charm, drive, and diligent effort Octave Mouret has become the director of one of the finest new department stores in Paris, Au Bonheur des Dames. Supremely aware of the power of his position, Mouret seeks to exploit the desire that his luxuriantly displayed merchandise arouses in the ladies who shop, and the aspirations of the young female assistants he employs. Charting the beginnings of the capitalist economy and bourgeois society, Zola captures in lavish detail the greedy customers and gossiping staff, and the obsession with image, fashion, and gratification that was a phenomenon of nineteenth-century French consumer society. Of all Zola's novels, this may be the one with the most relevance for our own time"--The publisher.
Publisher: Oxford ;, New York :, Oxford University Press,, [2008]
Copyright Date: ©1995
ISBN: 9780199536900
Branch Call Number: FIC ZOL
Characteristics: xxxi, 438 pages : map ; 20 cm

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Booksss14
Jun 24, 2017

I did not care for this book. While in some parts it was interesting, most of it was a dead bore. It didn't persuade me to read any more of Emile Zola's works. I do, however, like the TV show. While it is not like the book at all (It's even in a different country! *gasp*), it is fairly enjoyable, though not my favorite either.

ColemanRidge Sep 21, 2011

This is Zola's usual meticulously accurate, wildly romantic description of a workplace, in this case one of the first department stores. It describes how the owner, an obsessed marketing genius, puts on shopping spectacles designed to crowd women together and infect them with covetousness. There is a description of the store after one of these sales, strewn with garments as if an army of women, suddenly overcome by desire, had all disrobed. The owner watches the progress of these sales from the top of a high spiral staircase at the center of the store, gloating. He thinks of himself as seducing all the women of Paris at once. At the end of each day, he has the day's receipts carried up and set before him, the visible, tangible mark of their love.

It's probably the only book in the world in which the thrilling final scene is a white sale. It really is a thrilling final scene, too.

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