The Ladies' Paradise

The Ladies' Paradise

Book - 2013 2008
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Recently adapted for BBC Television, The Ladies' Paradise evokes the giddy pace of Paris's transition into a modern city and the changes in sexual attitudes and class relations taking place at the end of the century. The Ladies' Paradise is a compelling story of ambition and love set against the backdrop of the spectacular rise of the department store in 1860s Paris. Octave Mouret is a business genius who transforms a modest draper's shop into a hugely successful retail enterprise, masterfully exploiting the desires of his female customers and ruining small competitors along the way. Through the eyes of trainee salesgirl Denise we see the inner workings of the store and the relations and intrigues among the staff, human dramas played out alongside the relentless pursuit of commercial supremacy.
Publisher: Richmond, Surrey, Alma Classics,, 2013., ©2008.
Edition: New edition.
ISBN: 9781847493132
Characteristics: 443 pages ; 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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