Au Bonheur des Dames review ´ 100


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Au Bonheur des Dames

The Ladies Paradise Au Bonheur des Dames recounts the rise of the modern department store in late nineteenth century Paris The store is a symbol of capitalis Two stories one the coming of the modern world capitalism and consumerism and the other the poor peasant girl marries money An alternative title could be All About Shopping It is interesting to see how the shop assistants in the first department store in Paris the Ladies' Delight was modelled on the Bonmarche the real first store were treated as servants They lived in dormitories had curfews were expected to be chaste and could be fired for anything or nothing at all Interesting also to see how these girls almost the lowest of the low assumed airs and graces and found people they could bully whom they viewed as being even lower than themselves Hasn't changed It hasn't changed either that the people with money who therefore consider themselves to be at the top of the tree uality object tremendously to those who would rise and marry into their ranks especially if they aren't even pretty Megan Markle for instance pretty as she is the British press made much of her lowly beginnings and acted all superior over her dysfunctional familyThe story of how the working class of Paris suffered with the coming of the Ladies' Delight department store is the same as when Tesco moves in or WalMart All the little businesses die the suppliers of those businesses often craftsmen are out of work and the uneducated young girls and strong young men find themselves low paying work in those leviathans of the retail industry with rarely a chance to rise let alone own their own business or be respected as skilled tradesmen one day Everyone says they won't shop at Tesco or WalMart that they will continue to support their local shops but few ever do It's just so convenient This is a good book a lot gentle in its depiction of the working classes and their plight than is usual for Zola although his overarching theme of a great industrial machine grinding people down remains Lots of well drawn characters good people bad people and very very naughty ones It would make a marvellous film lots of potential of showing both the changing times and coming of consumerism and an age old love story with a twist a heroine who is definitely not fair of faceUpdate The BBC made a serial They spoiled it by making the heroine pretty rather than a very competent and dedicated young woman who grows in confidence at her abilities That missed Zola's points of not only could an extremely talented person who makes money for their employers rise but that a man could fall in love with character and personality above all Independent TV did worse by responding with Mr Selfridge about the founder of the wonderful London department store Selfridges That was merely soap opera Originally read and written in 2011 but rewritten 7th July 2018

Read ☆ PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook º Émile Zola

M of the modern city and of the bourgeois family it is emblematic of changes in consumer culture and the changes in sexual attitudes and class relations taki 35 starsI imagine a bewildered Émile Zola wandering into the crowds populating that new phenomenon that took Paris merchandising in the 19th century by storm mass production and the creation of the one stop mega shop He enters through the widely opened arms of polished French doors having to blink tearily at the brilliantly lit chandeliers Immediately he is choked by perfumed mists diffusing the air and is submerged in whispers of fine French lace and ribbons rows of rainbowed textures and fabrics on display corsets and lingerie accosting his libido He raises his gaze to the vaulted ceiling and catches the shrewd eye of Octave Mouret hovering watchfully at the balcony of the second floor and nods a gentlemanly greeting With this brief upward glance Zola becomes distracted shuttled through the cogs of this enormous commercial machine through its undulating channels eventually misplacing his wife in the melée the latter having spied a lady friend in the direction of the fine dresses salon where time becomes lost and space is infiniteThis is The Ladies' Paradise the department store where all the whimsies of a woman are catered to in one majestic place; where romance excitement and fantasy materialize through the latest in fashionable outerwear and underwear notions potions novelties household goods and other en vogue excesses not wholly necessary for ordinary life are sold Ok it's Macy's on steroids on 'discount day'Eleventh in Les Rougon Macuart cycle the novel is about modern consumerism and utopian fantasy a 19th century rags to riches story Denise Baudu is a humble and impoverished shopgirl who finds work in the flourishing department store The Ladies' Paradise trying to make ends meet to support her two brothers but colliding with the worst of human flaws The novel chronicles the struggle between the traditional shop the Old Elbeuf the declining establishment owned by Denise's uncle and the monster department store owned by the innovative Octave Mouret A habitual seducer of women Mouret's own insatiable passion is to conuer the 'woman' to hold her at his mercy to intoxicate her with unwavering attentiveness and manipulate her desires within his establishment The art of the seduction is not in the boudoir but in the caresses of silk and lace finery found at the most efficient of merchandising mechanisms with the uniue ability to offer national brands at substantial reductionsZola is a mesmerist when describing the scene of the crowd which takes on a protagonist role of its own He details economic reinvention and capitalism fueled by consumers' neurotic impulses to shop the system of mass production and the conseuences its development had in revolutionizing the retail industry in a story decked out in illusion seduction luxury romance class division obsession and greedAny criticism I might offer would be Zola's neglect in providing reasons for Denise's rise in the department what merited such promotions? In the BBC series a very sketchy interpretation of the novel by the way Denise is shown as an astute bright and uick thinking sales girl whose original ideas won her elevation in the store In the novel however Denise remains a mousy innocent extremely mindful of her virtue afraid of her own shadow promoted not by any skill of her own it appears but by Mouret's regret that her reputation was often tarnished by her peers; secondly by his own desire to conuer her which eventually deeply turns to love The Ladies' Paradise is one of Zola's lighter novels in Les Rougon Macuart series yet gives some pause for reflection to take stock of one's wants needs and their intrinsic values truthfully speaking what price is a lady's satisfaction?Other Zola novels read so farTherese Rauin The Dram Shop L' assommoir The Beast Within Germinal Russia in Flames of the modern city and Under the Water of the bourgeois family it is emblematic Cat Breaking Free of changes in consumer culture and the changes in sexual attitudes and class relations taki 35 starsI imagine a bewildered Émile Zola wandering into the crowds populating that new phenomenon that took Paris merchandising in the 19th century by storm mass production and the creation El Andorrà: D'car mo un pastor d'Almeria es converteix en l'home més ric d'Andorra of the ایران در گذر روزگاران one stop mega shop He enters through the widely Ezekiel (Taupadak) opened arms Mujeres de luz of polished French doors having to blink tearily at the brilliantly lit chandeliers Immediately he is choked by perfumed mists diffusing the air and is submerged in whispers Atrévete a no gustar: Libérate de tus miedos y alcanza la verdadera felicidad of fine French lace and ribbons rows Wingmen of rainbowed textures and fabrics Dear Henry on display corsets and lingerie accosting his libido He raises his gaze to the vaulted ceiling and catches the shrewd eye Historia de España 2º Bach. (Libro de texto) - 9788499952000 of Octave Mouret hovering watchfully at the balcony The Leprechauns of Software Engineering of the second floor and nods a gentlemanly greeting With this brief upward glance Zola becomes distracted shuttled through the cogs Nine Dates (Desert Ménage, of this enormous commercial machine through its undulating channels eventually misplacing his wife in the melée the latter having spied a lady friend in the direction Desert Ménage Trilogy of the fine dresses salon where time becomes lost and space is infiniteThis is The Ladies' Paradise the department store where all the whimsies La Fuga di Bach (1CD audio) of a woman are catered to in Yawara! 29 (Yawara!, one majestic place; where romance excitement and fantasy materialize through the latest in fashionable Caviar outerwear and underwear notions potions novelties household goods and Intranerso other en vogue excesses not wholly necessary for Diese verrückten 90 Minuten: Das Fuss-Ball-Buch ordinary life are sold Ok it's Macy's O último barco on steroids The Land Beyond Summer on 'discount day'Eleventh in Les Rougon Macuart cycle the novel is about modern consumerism and utopian fantasy a 19th century rags to riches story Denise Baudu is a humble and impoverished shopgirl who finds work in the flourishing department store The Ladies' Paradise trying to make ends meet to support her two brothers but colliding with the worst Logan G. Una aventura épica (Crossbooks) of human flaws The novel chronicles the struggle between the traditional shop the Old Elbeuf the declining establishment The Secret History of the World owned by Denise's uncle and the monster department store The Secret History of the World owned by the innovative Octave Mouret A habitual seducer Infidelidad Consentida, vol. 2 of women Mouret's The NexStar User's Guide own insatiable passion is to conuer the 'woman' to hold her at his mercy to intoxicate her with unwavering attentiveness and manipulate her desires within his establishment The art Doblaje of the seduction is not in the boudoir but in the caresses Time Warp of silk and lace finery found at the most efficient 7 Claves para Potenciar tu Lenguaje Corporal of merchandising mechanisms with the uniue ability to Blood Diamonds (Ben Kamal and Danielle Barnea, offer national brands at substantial reductionsZola is a mesmerist when describing the scene Ghita Two of the crowd which takes The 8-Minute Writing Habit on a protagonist role Impredecible (La llave de su destino of its Tras la piel ajena own He details economic reinvention and capitalism fueled by consumers' neurotic impulses to shop the system Повест за Зоя и Шура of mass production and the conseuences its development had in revolutionizing the retail industry in a story decked Повест за Зоя и Шура of mass production and the conseuences its development had in revolutionizing the retail industry in a story decked Faculty of Fire obsession and greedAny criticism I might Es gribu dejot simt gadu offer would be Zola's neglect in providing reasons for Denise's rise in the department what merited such promotions? In the BBC series a very sketchy interpretation Bioloxia e Xeoloxía 1º ESO (SomosLink) - 9788490461075 of the novel by the way Denise is shown as an astute bright and uick thinking sales girl whose Serena (Doncellas Coloniales, original ideas won her elevation in the store In the novel however Denise remains a mousy innocent extremely mindful The Best Science Fiction of the Year 6 of her virtue afraid Star Songs of An Old Primate of her Screening the Golden Ages of the Classical Tradition own shadow promoted not by any skill Hydes Absolution (Sydney Storm MC of her Eagles and Bulldogs in Normandy, 1944 own it appears but by Mouret's regret that her reputation was El sueño de mi desvelo: Historias nocturnas e imborrables de la NBA (Deportes (corner)) often tarnished by her peers; secondly by his Juegos, Deporte Y Sociedad. Léxico De Praxiología Motriz (Educación Física/Pedagogía/Juegos) own desire to conuer her which eventually deeply turns to love The Ladies' Paradise is Compórtate (ENSAYO) one The Bible of Dark Arts of Zola's lighter novels in Les Rougon Macuart series yet gives some pause for reflection to take stock Agatha Raisin and the Terrible Tourist (Agatha Raisin, of Tödlicher Schnee one's wants needs and their intrinsic values truthfully speaking what price is a lady's satisfaction?Other Zola novels read so farTherese Rauin The Dram Shop L' assommoir The Beast Within Germinal

Émile Zola º 0 review

Ng place at the end of the century This new translation of the eleventh novel in Zola's Rougon Macuart cycle captures the spirit of one of his greatest works Having just finished a buddy read of Emile Zola’s The Ladies Paradise I am in general agreement that this is a flawed four star book Call it 35 with a major round up Paradise is listed as the eleventh book in the “Rougon Macuart series and is the seuel to Pot Bouille translated as Pot Luck in my English edition In Pot Luck we are introduced to Octave Mouret an aspiring barely middle class snot who marries his way into the ownership of a store The Ladies Paradise His wife and owner of this shop dies falling into a hole that will become part of the reborn new invention The Ladies’ Paradise modern Department storeIn this book Marat has built and continues to rebuild his newly invented store into a machine that industrializes the process of sales Into this set up arrives a new thread bare overburdened young county mouse Denise Baudu Between these three characters The Store its owner and its new over matched innocent girl Zola builds his novelLadies’ Paradise is the result of fives years of Zola making a close study of the two department stores then making their debut in Paris He relates to us with meticulous and exciting detail all of the inner mechanics and machination of this new living eating thing the Department store With eual parts resignation and road side accident curiosity he notes the effect of the new way of selling as a destructive if un stoppable force in retail Local small stores of whatever age tradition or hopes are bought out literally undermined or simply withered under the effects of mass marketing price wars and capitalistic competition There are hints of back door deal making but ultimately the success of the huge box store is that the small guys cannot compete This should sound familiar in our age of internet based marketing challenging the big box brick and mortar retailerZola takes us from the board rooms to the shipping rooms where we meet the staff and in the internal workings of this company as a living presence Staff is alternatively slick seductive conniving sincere submissive and fearful Employee rights and benefits are not yet meaningful terms and arbitrary hire fire and promotion keeps people complicit when they are not working to cut each other out The great lie of the store is that it presents the promise that everything is about and for its predominately female fan base that is customer In fact this promise is itself the deliberate cover for schemes psychological machinations and applications of marketing over substance Women are not so much the masters of this place as its pray Women are intended to happily desire to feed their money into its always hungry mawWith Denise we get to see and feel the conflicts of a well meaning every woman She has personal loyalties towards her family and friends from the world of traditional retail She will have to chose to stay with these loyalties or her apparently instinctive grasp that the department store and its new way of selling is the future She is also romantically inclined toward her boss’s boss’s boss Octave Mouret He will also become attracted to her given she is one of thousands of employees and several concurrent mistressesIt is the conflict represented by this may or may not be consummated romance that much of the human based plot is based This is also the weakest part of the novel We know Octave to be a serial womanizer and large scale manipulator of women Denise is not just innocent but highly principled consciously and conscientiously virginal Given all of this what is a happy ending?It was the consensus of the buddy read that this ending is facile less than credible and perhaps incomplete For all Zola is a good story teller There is much of fact in his fiction At least as it relates to the Store The Ladies’ Paradise can be an exciting read something few would associate with the story of a department store There are several levels of human drama most well presented It is only in the resolution of the central human drama that our group of readers found disapointment


10 thoughts on “Au Bonheur des Dames

  1. says:

    Two stories one the coming of the modern world capitalism and consumerism and the other the poor peasant girl marries money An alternative title could be All About Shopping It is interesting to see how the shop assistants in the first department store in Paris the Ladies' Delight was modelled on the Bonmarche the real first store were treated as servants They lived in dormitories had curfews were expected to be chaste and could be fired for anything or nothing at all Interesting also to see how these girls almost the lowest of the low assumed airs and graces and found people they could bully whom they viewed as being even lower than themselves Hasn't changed It hasn't changed either that the people with money who therefore consider themselves to be at the top of the tree uality object tremendously to those who would rise and marry into their ranks especially if they aren't even pretty Megan Markle for instance pretty as she is the British press made much of her lowly beginnings and acted all superior over her dysfunctional familyThe story of how the working class of Paris suffered with the coming of the Ladies' Delight department store is the same as when Tesco moves in or WalMart All the little businesses die the suppliers of those businesses often craftsmen are out of work and the uneducated young girls and strong young men find themselves low paying work in those leviathans of the retail industry with rarely a chance to rise let alone own their own business or be respected as skilled tradesmen one day Everyone says they won't shop at Tesco or WalMart that they will continue to support their local shops but few ever do It's just so convenient This is a good book a lot gentle in its depiction of the working classes and their plight than is usual for Zola although his overarching theme of a great industrial machine grinding people down remains Lots of well drawn characters good people bad people and very very naughty ones It would make a marvellous film lots of potential of showing both the changing times and coming of consumerism and an age old love story with a twist a heroine who is definitely not fair of faceUpdate The BBC made a serial They spoiled it by making the heroine pretty rather than a very competent and dedicated young woman who grows in confidence at her abilities That missed Zola's points of not only could an extremely talented person who makes money for their employers rise but that a man could fall in love with character and personality above all Independent TV did worse by responding with Mr Selfridge about the founder of the wonderful London department store Selfridges That was merely soap opera Originally read and written in 2011 but rewritten 7th July 2018


  2. says:

    Life in an 1860s Paris megastore As capitalism staggers around on its bunioned feet waiting for the next self perpetuating excuse for sickening human greed and useless backbreaking timewasting bullshit in pursuit of Capital to relieve its burden it’s time to uestion what we want from an economic system here in the West A completely eual distribution of funds is impossible since people are cash hoovering greed machines who will stab their mothers to get a bigger pie slice Communism is unpopular due to its fascist tendencies Perhaps we could try kindness generosity wealth sharing and self sustaining communities? Stop laughing The Ladies’ Paradise explores the viperous world of ladies’ retail and the nascent capitalist machine Bitching and hating and desperation and greed and corsages That’s the fashion world for you Denise is Zola’s pure hearted ingénue who rather implausibly and clumsily enchants the evil chauvinist Octave Mouret with her dowdy virginal loveliness After a long struggle she becomes the belle of the megamall and tames the old beast by refusing to surrender her maidenhead Nowadays to get that kind of career traction you have to humiliate yourself on The Apprentice The novel is festooned with elaborate descriptions of store displays which go on and on until we get the bleeding point and the POV is schizo even by Zola’s standards but the whole work is admirably ruthless So death to capitalism All hail have a tenner on me ism Update BBC adaptation currently showing on the iplayer


  3. says:

    Holy Mother of GodI do not know where to begin with thisYou see this title and you look up the book Oh a novel about women and shopping this is going to be a bore Even I had my doubts and I am an avid reader of Zola he has yet to disappoint me And yet I believe that this may be the best work of his that I have yet to read perhaps Germinal is slipping through justIt's still so relevant to today in so many ways the birth of the super stores and the effect they had and still do on small business The ethical problems of big business muscling out the small guys unable to adapt whether it be from financial limitations or due to stubbornness Female employees being coerced to act on the whim of their male employers; the manipulation of pretty much every possible stakeholder in business only to drive up profits; marrying for money this book has everythingReaders of Zola will be aware of how gritty and raw he his; he does not hold back on the disastrous effects and ramifications that a world driven by capital and materiality has on his well built with a strong emphasis on psychological aspects characters which are than believable they come to life Plenty of ups and downs in this one you finally get some reprieve a glimmer of hope and then the door is slammed in your face You cannot even make out who is the 'bad' guys are half the time but I think that was purposeful since we are all human and acting in what we perceive to be our best interests especially in a dog eat dog world that was Paris in the 1880's with new wealth being generated creating different class interactionsThere's so many characters that all have their own story You feel pity anger sorrow relief all varying emotions for them as they progress along this story certainly far from being one dimensional The ending seemed a bit too rushed for my liking however the imagery leading up to it was some of the best I have read in a long timeBusiness is a machine and if you get in its' way you will be dealt with relentlessly Funnily enough Futurama is on TV now the episode being where the robots try to take over Earth


  4. says:

    35 starsI imagine a bewildered Émile Zola wandering into the crowds populating that new phenomenon that took Paris merchandising in the 19th century by storm mass production and the creation of the one stop mega shop He enters through the widely opened arms of polished French doors having to blink tearily at the brilliantly lit chandeliers Immediately he is choked by perfumed mists diffusing the air and is submerged in whispers of fine French lace and ribbons rows of rainbowed textures and fabrics on display corsets and lingerie accosting his libido He raises his gaze to the vaulted ceiling and catches the shrewd eye of Octave Mouret hovering watchfully at the balcony of the second floor and nods a gentlemanly greeting With this brief upward glance Zola becomes distracted shuttled through the cogs of this enormous commercial machine through its undulating channels eventually misplacing his wife in the melée the latter having spied a lady friend in the direction of the fine dresses salon where time becomes lost and space is infiniteThis is The Ladies' Paradise the department store where all the whimsies of a woman are catered to in one majestic place; where romance excitement and fantasy materialize through the latest in fashionable outerwear and underwear notions potions novelties household goods and other en vogue excesses not wholly necessary for ordinary life are sold Ok it's Macy's on steroids on 'discount day'Eleventh in Les Rougon Macuart cycle the novel is about modern consumerism and utopian fantasy a 19th century rags to riches story Denise Baudu is a humble and impoverished shopgirl who finds work in the flourishing department store The Ladies' Paradise trying to make ends meet to support her two brothers but colliding with the worst of human flaws The novel chronicles the struggle between the traditional shop the Old Elbeuf the declining establishment owned by Denise's uncle and the monster department store owned by the innovative Octave Mouret A habitual seducer of women Mouret's own insatiable passion is to conuer the 'woman' to hold her at his mercy to intoxicate her with unwavering attentiveness and manipulate her desires within his establishment The art of the seduction is not in the boudoir but in the caresses of silk and lace finery found at the most efficient of merchandising mechanisms with the uniue ability to offer national brands at substantial reductionsZola is a mesmerist when describing the scene of the crowd which takes on a protagonist role of its own He details economic reinvention and capitalism fueled by consumers' neurotic impulses to shop the system of mass production and the conseuences its development had in revolutionizing the retail industry in a story decked out in illusion seduction luxury romance class division obsession and greedAny criticism I might offer would be Zola's neglect in providing reasons for Denise's rise in the department what merited such promotions? In the BBC series a very sketchy interpretation of the novel by the way Denise is shown as an astute bright and uick thinking sales girl whose original ideas won her elevation in the store In the novel however Denise remains a mousy innocent extremely mindful of her virtue afraid of her own shadow promoted not by any skill of her own it appears but by Mouret's regret that her reputation was often tarnished by her peers; secondly by his own desire to conuer her which eventually deeply turns to love The Ladies' Paradise is one of Zola's lighter novels in Les Rougon Macuart series yet gives some pause for reflection to take stock of one's wants needs and their intrinsic values truthfully speaking what price is a lady's satisfaction?Other Zola novels read so farTherese Rauin The Dram Shop L' assommoir The Beast Within Germinal


  5. says:

    Zola's depiction of La SamaritainLe Bon Marché Paris' first department stores is an absolute classic and a wonderfully entertaining read Incredibly influential on his generation Manet etc it is a photographic record of life in the 19th c as the bourgeoisie started wielding their consumer power and the lives of those in the poorer classes that risked being crushed in the onrush through the doors of the store A must


  6. says:

    IntroductionTranslator's NoteSelect BibliographyA Chronology of Émile ZolaMap The Ladies' Paradise Explanatory Notes


  7. says:

    This is novel #11 in the Rougon Macuart series and was the 6th one in the series I had read so far all selected at random It so happened that all six are set in Paris The Ladies’ Paradise Au Bonheur Des Dames is one where Zola is unwontedly light handed with his prescription of human miseryThis novel tells how a country girl Denise tries to settle in the glamorous city of Paris and courageously confronts all the mishaps and humiliation that her job as a junior saleswoman in a prestigious department store entails She witnesses how the innovative business model allows the establishment to grow from strength to strength under the management of the shrewd and handsome owner Octave Mouret who is a young widower and womanizer Her strong common sense integrity and strength of will become her only tools of self defense in the material world filled with degrading temptations to which most of her co workers succumb The worst trial comes when she realizes she has fallen in love with Mouret who tired of his own dissolute private life is deeply attracted to herAs the backdrop of the story Zola paints a living picture of how the business of a luxury department store is run on a daily basis in mid 1800s Paris and how a rapacious expansion plan is carried out in tandem with the city’s ambitious massive infrastructure development Beneath all the glamour though there is a strong undertow that grieves the inevitable demise of small business shops and afflictions of their owners The story also gives a realist’s glimpse into the lives of the average salesman and saleswoman employed in high class department stores This novel is said to have been inspired by the development of Les Grands Magasins du Louvre in the Place du Palais Royal of that eraAs with other novels in the R M series I'd read Zola showed the same mastery in this one with his descriptions of minutiae What I liked even better though was still his keen insight into the human psyche and interpersonal relationships and how he captures the social paradigm shift of the times I feel that at heart he was very much a democratic socialistI’m giving this novel 45 stars rounded upOther R M novels I had read L’Oeuvre The Masterpiece – 4 starsLe Ventre The Belly of Paris – 4 starsL’Assommoir The Dram Shop – 5 starsLa Curee The Kill – 5 starsNana Nana – 4 starsNon R M novel I had read Therese Rauin – 3 stars


  8. says:

    Having just finished a buddy read of Emile Zola’s The Ladies Paradise I am in general agreement that this is a flawed four star book Call it 35 with a major round up Paradise is listed as the eleventh book in the “Rougon Macuart series and is the seuel to Pot Bouille translated as Pot Luck in my English edition In Pot Luck we are introduced to Octave Mouret an aspiring barely middle class snot who marries his way into the ownership of a store The Ladies Paradise His wife and owner of this shop dies falling into a hole that will become part of the reborn new invention The Ladies’ Paradise modern Department storeIn this book Marat has built and continues to rebuild his newly invented store into a machine that industrializes the process of sales Into this set up arrives a new thread bare overburdened young county mouse Denise Baudu Between these three characters The Store its owner and its new over matched innocent girl Zola builds his novelLadies’ Paradise is the result of fives years of Zola making a close study of the two department stores then making their debut in Paris He relates to us with meticulous and exciting detail all of the inner mechanics and machination of this new living eating thing the Department store With eual parts resignation and road side accident curiosity he notes the effect of the new way of selling as a destructive if un stoppable force in retail Local small stores of whatever age tradition or hopes are bought out literally undermined or simply withered under the effects of mass marketing price wars and capitalistic competition There are hints of back door deal making but ultimately the success of the huge box store is that the small guys cannot compete This should sound familiar in our age of internet based marketing challenging the big box brick and mortar retailerZola takes us from the board rooms to the shipping rooms where we meet the staff and in the internal workings of this company as a living presence Staff is alternatively slick seductive conniving sincere submissive and fearful Employee rights and benefits are not yet meaningful terms and arbitrary hire fire and promotion keeps people complicit when they are not working to cut each other out The great lie of the store is that it presents the promise that everything is about and for its predominately female fan base that is customer In fact this promise is itself the deliberate cover for schemes psychological machinations and applications of marketing over substance Women are not so much the masters of this place as its pray Women are intended to happily desire to feed their money into its always hungry mawWith Denise we get to see and feel the conflicts of a well meaning every woman She has personal loyalties towards her family and friends from the world of traditional retail She will have to chose to stay with these loyalties or her apparently instinctive grasp that the department store and its new way of selling is the future She is also romantically inclined toward her boss’s boss’s boss Octave Mouret He will also become attracted to her given she is one of thousands of employees and several concurrent mistressesIt is the conflict represented by this may or may not be consummated romance that much of the human based plot is based This is also the weakest part of the novel We know Octave to be a serial womanizer and large scale manipulator of women Denise is not just innocent but highly principled consciously and conscientiously virginal Given all of this what is a happy ending?It was the consensus of the buddy read that this ending is facile less than credible and perhaps incomplete For all Zola is a good story teller There is much of fact in his fiction At least as it relates to the Store The Ladies’ Paradise can be an exciting read something few would associate with the story of a department store There are several levels of human drama most well presented It is only in the resolution of the central human drama that our group of readers found disapointment


  9. says:

    This one deals with the monstrous effects of capitalism in France's Second Empire Zola modeled The Ladies' Paradise after Bon Marché a Paris shop which revolutionized consumer culture by acting as a sort of indoor bazaar where one could find housewares furniture cloth readymade clothing etc in one place rather than traveling all around Paris to different little independent shops like a mall but all owned by the same company Okay fine like a Walmart with real silk Workers assigned to each department sell mostly on commission their meager yearly salaries increasing with their positions thus introducing the concept of climbing the corporate ladder to Paris' impoverished young workers This results in a mind numbing cycle of exploitation and reward; for those at the bottom there is nowhere else to go due to the smaller businesses being swallowed up and the competitive wages of The Ladies' Paradise despite being cruelly degraded by entitled customers given inedible food and having the constant anxiety of arbitrarily being told to go and get paid aka you're fired by Octave Mouret and other higher ups Those who are persistent or well connected enough to ascend the ranks are convinced there is nowhere else but up inciting them to clear their own paths up the ladder by any means necessary with no attention to fairness using the mangled bodies of others as their stepping stones One class system is demolished only to give rise to another Zola as ever writes convincing portraits of ruined lives and exhausted ambition though in this novel no class is safe the rich the bourgeoisie and the poor are all uniformly ground up in the machine The individuals who do escape have the moral burden of having done so at the expense of many othersParis' love affair with capitalism paralleled in Denise's love affair with Octave Mouret had invented this mechanism for crushing the world and its brutal working shocked her; he had sown ruin all over the neighborhood despoiled some killed others; and yet she loved him for the grandeur of his work she loved him still at every excess of his power notwithstanding the flood of tears which overcame her before the sacred misery of the vanuished


  10. says:

    A little too on the nose at times and the plot itself is pretty perfunctory but his description of and critiue of the emergence of the department store is brilliantly done While his point about the commodification of women is hammered repeatedly over our heads it is a good enough point and is being said impressively early enough in the process to warrant such repetition


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