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The Ladies' Paradise (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – September 1, 2008
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Original Language: French --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Enter Denise Baudu, a country girl from Normandy, who moves to Paris with her two brothers after one of them has gotten in trouble back home. Her uncle runs a store called Au Vieil Elbeuf, selling drapery and flannels, but is unable to give her room or a job because business is threatened by the presence of the Ladies' Paradise across the street. Denise finds a job at the Paradise at the risk of angering her relatives.
Salesgirls at the Paradise live in a dormitory on the top floor of the department store. Room and board is part of the job, plus a token wage and commissions on sales over quota. Little does Denise know she had entered into a whirlwind of gossip and backbiting. She is made fun of by her fellow workers, but Mouret resists getting rid of her because he is drawn to her. At one point, however, two of Mouret's "spies" in management come upon Denise and a young salesman from her region who has sheepishly fallen in love with her and kisses her hand as head axe-wielder Bourdoncle watches. Denise is promptly dismissed.
As Denise finds another position in a less profitable store than the Paradise, the focus turns more to Mouret, who did not know of her dismissal.Read more ›
I agree that there is a deep social message in the book: Octave Mouret's grand mega-store (called, of course, Au Bonheur des Dames--Ladies' Happiness, or Paradise, in this translation) eclipsing and eventually ruining small-time clothes merchants--like Denise's own uncle. But the mystery of the book is that you, as a reader, while feeling sorry for ruined lives and businesses, cannot but admire the awesome machine that Octave had built. By the end of the book, I couldn't care less about the small-time merchants. All I wanted was for Denise to give Octave the time of day. Message, shmessage.
The story is actually very, very simple. Octave Mouret, a young widower, is a man who has everything--and every woman he can possibly desire. And not because the store he had inherited from his wife (who died in an accident at its construction site, fatefully) is making him loads of money--also because he is intelligent, handsome, suave and has the eyes "the color of the old gold". But he wants Denise, the one girl he cannot have: the boring, gray, provincial sales clerk at his huge clothing store. Why?Read more ›
As a retail employee, I have dealt with customers who don't have the money to buy the items but want to get it. I am a customer who buys what is displayed because I think it is going to be an investment. I can relate to small stores like Uncle Baudu's. Businesses like his struggle to stay afloat amongst corporate expansion. They entice clients with their sales and bargains--things that I look for when I shop. Small stores can provide what the big stores don't have. One way or the other, the consumer can get some sort of balance. Working at both a community store and a corporate store, one thing that matters most to customers is service. Customers want to be treated with respect and they expect sales associate to be enthused and answer their questions; even if it is trivial.
Denise Baudu, a simple country girl, arrives in Paris to get a job at her uncle's drapery shop. To her disappointment he doesn't have a job for her because his store is losing customers to the Ladies Paradise. The mall provides goods that are cheaper than the small shops and have a selection of fabrics not only from the mother country, but imported from Asia. He suggests to his niece that she get a job there.
The store fascinates her but she does feel some betrayal towards her uncle.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I watch the TV series first and just loved the storylines. I was really disappointed when they cancelled the series and sought out the book. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Kaye
I enjoyed it very much and flipped quickly to the ending. It cleaned my reader's pallet.Published 2 months ago by Emily
I love the show and the book is really good too. They are very different but wonderful!Published 3 months ago by Miriam
I love Emile Zola and this is a wonderful companion piece the to PBS "The Paradise" series, detailing the importance of how many women have been manipulated into thinking... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Vivien Kellerman
Loved the story but at times could have done wiht a little less descriptive narrative and more story.Published 6 months ago by Jo Wakefield
This book is by Emile Zola and rather dated. Mouret seemed very lecherous to me and Denise was not a modern woman as in the film. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Peregrine