Au Bonheur des Dames (Les Rougon-Macquart, #11)
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Au Bonheur des Dames (Les Rougon-Macquart #11)

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  4,098 ratings  ·  318 reviews
Emile Zola (1840-1902), ne a Paris, est un ecrivain, journaliste et homme public francais, considere comme le chef de file du naturalisme. C'est l'un des romanciers francais les plus universellement populaires, l'un des plus publies et traduits au monde, le plus adapte au cinema et a la television. Sa vie et son oeuvre ont ete etudies dans le detail par la science historiq...more
Paperback, French edition, 436 pages
Published May 23rd 2008 by Dodo Press (first published 1883)
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MJ Nicholls
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 question what we want from an economic system here in the West. A completely equal 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 unpo...more
Capsguy
Holy Mother of God...

I do not know where to begin with this.

You 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, just...

It's still so relevant to today in so many ways, the birth of the super stores and the effect they had and still...more
Nicole~
3.5 stars

I 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 birth of the superstore. 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...more
Petra X
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.

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...more
Also, Safety Math
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...more
Tatiana
Dec 10, 2010 Tatiana rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of French lit
The Ladies' Paradise (Les Rougon-Macquart, #11) used to be one of my all-time favorite books. In my teenage years. And now I remember why. Of course, it's the lurve.

In this novel, Denise, a lowly sales girl working at a huge department store, snags a husband who is this store's rich playboy owner, Octave Mouret. Somehow, what seemed uber-romantic to me at 13, isn't any more now. You see, Denise basically gets her man by not putting out. Octave is used to getting any woman he wants, but Denise,...more
Marc
Au début, j'ai éprouvé quelques difficultés à me plonger dans ce roman, de nombreux personnages y sont présentés et on les suit alternativement. Mais en fait, ce qui m'intéressait vraiment c'était de suivre Denise.
Denise la mal-peignée, qui en prend plein la tête mais ne bronche jamais, et bien qu'elle ne baisse jamais les bras et fasse preuve d'une certaine force de volonté, elle m'agaçait à rester là sans rien dire et à ne jamais s'affirmer. J'aime les personnages forts, qui savent se défendre...more
Jeff
It was really hard to give this book 3 stars (instead of 4) because I really think that it is a culturally significant piece of literature. Here Zola anticipates not only the coming of the modern age, but the rise of commercialism. Mouret is the ultimate capitalist, and we see through him the way in which that marvel of 20th century consumerism--the department store--was originally conceived. It prefigures Wal-Mart's destruction of rural small businesses. It shows how merchandise moguls played t...more
snackywombat (v.m.)
Dec 03, 2013 snackywombat (v.m.) rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Classics fans
This book is truly a classic, and the whole time I was reading it, I was reminded of those summer reading lists that I always had in high school, full of lofty tomes that looked dusty and boring but when I knuckled down into them, they would suddenly refine my lazy summer of peaches, sunshine and secret cigarettes. Brideshead Revisited, Tess of the D'Urbervilles, Sister Carrie... these are the ones I remember curling up in a deck chair with, glass of lemonade in hand. Books like these give us pu...more
Aroon J.
Zola ouvre une réflexion sur la culture de consommation naissante pendant cette période de l'histoire de Paris et de l'Occident à travers le grand magasin, Au Bonheur des Dames. Avec des symboles et de belles descriptions toujours détaillées, Zola transforme une épisode de l'histoire économique en aventure romanesque et intrigue amoureuse . Attention à la description du grand magasin; c'est souvent avec un langage organique ! À ne pas manquer; un texte rare de Zola où il s'agit d'une conclusion...more
Katrina Passick Lumsden
To say Emile Zola had a way with words would be an insulting understatement. This is a great story, a study of the effects of capitalism as well as a study of human behavior. My only complaint would be that Zola was oftentimes a bit too wordy. Setting that aside, I was fascinated by the portrayal of the rise of the first department store in France and the effect it had on its section of Paris. Zola managed to present it in such a way wherein both parties (the big store "counter jumpers" and the...more
Sandra
Strabordante, straripante, grandioso: sono gli aggettivi che mi vengono immediatamente da accostare al libro appena letto. Sono stata incerta fino all’ultimo sulle stelle da assegnargli perché da un lato la lettura è stata pesante, dall’altro mi ha comunque appassionato. La pesantezza è dipesa dalle accurate e approfondite descrizioni del grande magazzino Al paradiso delle signore, aperto al centro di Parigi, che Zola analizza con una ricchezza di particolari che viene da chiedersi quante ore ab...more
Jane
The Ladies’ Paradise was one of those books I meant to read, expected to love, but never quite got to for a long, long time. Now I have finished reading, I am inclined to say that the verdict is flawed but fabulous.

Let me explain.

The story begins with twenty year-old Denise Baudu and her two young brothers arriving in Paris from the country. Denise has done her best for her brothers since their parents died, but she was struggling, and so she came to Paris to take up the offer of help and suppor...more
Maria
I had high expectations on this novel. Could have something to do with BBC's adaptation. I won't say I was disappointed but I wasn't really happy either. I blame BBC.

The novel is set in the late 1900 century Paris. Denise and her two younger brothers comes to Paris to make a living after their parent's death. She was hoping to get help from her uncle, but as it turns out, a large department store has opened just opposite the uncle's shop and all the smaller shops around this "monstrosity" are on...more
Gulen
Okuduğum ilk ve tek Emile Zola romanı, ancak çok beğenmiş ve bugüne kadar Emile Zola okumadığım için kendimi kınamıştım. Muhteşem bir kitap olduğunu düşünüyorum, o dönemde yeni yeni başlayan tüketim çılgınlığı ve özellikle günümüzde dahi devam eden kadınların tüketim için hedef alınmasını çok güzel bir dille anlatmış Zola, buna ek alışveriş merkezi diyebileceğimiz unsurlar doğmaya başladığında küçük esnafın aldığı yaraları göstermiş bize. Araya bir de aşk hikayesi sıkıştırmış. 19 yy. sonunda geç...more
Jessica
In the movie “Wordplay” a difficult answer in one of the final crosswords was Zolaesque. I had no idea what it meant. Ladies’ Paradise was a great way to experience Zola’s writing – his rich, almost documentary-style descriptions of the details of the everyday life of his characters. The main female character Denise arrives in Paris with her two young brothers with little money and few prospects. She manages to survive by taking a job in a giant department store called the Ladies’ Paradise. Zola...more
Lisa
loved this book! I have a mountain of other things to read but after seeing the BBC series created out of Émile Zola’s The Ladies’ Paradise I couldn’t resist bringing it home from the library. However, I also stumbled across Julian Barnes Levels of Life that day – and it was so beautiful and wise that I read and reviewed that first, and then I found myself with only a day to read all 480 pages of The Ladies’ Paradise and no, I couldn’t renew it because it’s in high demand at the library.

By the...more
Pierre E. Loignon
Lorsqu’on prend en considération la série des Rougeon-Maquart, on observe que la popularité de certains des vingt romans évolue à travers le temps.
Il y a de ces classiques dont le succès instantané demeure stable. C’est de cas de Germinal, chef-d’œuvre de Zola, qui restera sans doute toujours le plus lu, mais aussi de L’Assomoir et de Nana qui ont toujours été très populaires.
D’autres bouquins semblent plutôt faits pour leur époque, en dehors d’elle, comme des poissons hors de l’eau, ils ne resp...more
Diane
It was with fear and trepidation that I started Zola's "Ladies' Delight" -
I was still reeling from "Therese Raquin". I desperately wanted a strong,
good woman character with a positive ending. This would have to be one
of Zola's more accessible books (is this phase still used) as it plots the
course of beautiful, determined and honourable Denise, a real worker and
in her way, a visionary.
Orphaned and penniless Denise and her little brother Jean arrive on the
doorstep of their Uncle Baudu, hoping to b...more
Meredith
I read this as part of a college course on France after the Revolution. This is the story of a young country girl who must find work in the city at a time when the industrial revolution was creating a commercial revolution in the methods and scale of selling goods. The narrative revolves around the opening and prosperity of a hugely successful department store, the predecessor to the Bon Marche in Paris, that is putting smaller traditional shopkeepers out of business. As the smaller shops go und...more
Cynthia
I read an older public domain translation available through Google books. This is a somewhat lighter Zola novel centering around the owner, employees and shoppers at Paris' first large department store, as well as the subsequent gentrification of the neighborhood and the smaller long-established businesses the store (the titular Au Bonheur des dames) drives out of business.

With a plucky heroine who endures penury to support her younger brothers and sexual harassment from the store's resident le...more
Dagny
Au Bonheur des Dames (The Ladies' Delight) refers to one of the first huge department stores. First published in 1883, although fiction, it is fascinating to learn that there were huge department stores with thousands of employees and even a mail order division one hundred and twenty years ago. The story focuses on Denise, a young woman who arrives in Paris with her two younger brothers after the death of their parents leaves them without means. Denise has counted on obtaining employment at her...more
Cat Nunnery
I LOVED this nineteenth century French coming of age novel. Two interesting stories unravel throughout the book-- one of a young girl left destitute when her parents die and sent to live with a depressed uncle; the other of the expansion of the first Parisian department store. The ideals of capitalism are rampant-- i learned more about marketing and store tactics from this book than from any contemporary source. Now I know why expensive stores dangle those tempting cheap items in front of buyers...more
Tintaglia
Ho fatto un po' di fatica a entrare al Paradiso delle signore. Ma dopo, non volevo più uscirne.
Marija
Jun 14, 2011 Marija rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Marija by: Tatiana
Shelves: classics
“But he felt stronger at Henriette’s, knowing how the possession of a shared mistress brings men together and softens their hearts. That the two of them should be there, wrapped in her beloved scent, having her at hand, ready to persuade them with a smile, seemed to him a guarantee of success.”

Oh boy, what a line! Octave Mouret loves mixing business with pleasure, using his seductive charm to help ensure that he always gets the upper hand. His Parisian department store adopts that same essence,...more
April
A story written over 100 years ago that can relate to the modern day reader, is one worthy of the term "Classic".

The plot revolves around the success and expansion of The Ladies' Paradise department store. Mouret, the owner, is determined to woo his female customers using not only the most obtuse and blatant types of consumer marketing such as over the top window displays, but also utilizes subtle techniques such as the location of departments within the store and overcrowding at the entrance t...more
Katy Noyes
Zola is a name that's been on my 'must read one day, but he sounds hard' list for many a year. Why is it we fear the unfamiliar? Just as Scandinavian authors are experiencing a huge surge in popularity, other European names deserve to have their names highlighted too.

This is a gem. Like many, I enjoyed the BBC costume drama inspired by this book (The Paradise, now on series two). So finally, I plunged in. And what did I find? An eminently readable story, full of fascinating social history, meat...more
Emi Nogueira del burgo
Reconozco que me entró curiosidad por el libro después de ver la serie 'The Paradise', a las pocas páginas queda claro que a parte de haber unos grandes almacenes de por medio, la historia se parece en más bien poco.

El libro se centra mucho en el gran cambio que hubo en la sociedad al aparecer estas grandes tiendas: cómo afectaba al pequeño comercio, cómo iba añadiendo departamentos nuevos, las estrategias que iban inventando para atraer a más y más clientes (los escaparates, las rebajas, los sa...more
Sushila
This is the first of Emile Zola's novels that I have read and it was quite enjoyable. It was very interesting to read a book written in the nineteenth century that focused on a working class woman (among other things). I hadn't realized it, but most "older" books that I've read have had as their protagonists men or aristocratic/bourgeois women. Also, it was exciting to read a contemporary novel that was written at a time of such great social change.

There was a lot of description, which could be...more
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Émile François Zola was an influential French novelist, the most important example of the literary school of naturalism, and a major figure in the political liberalization of France.

More than half of Zola's novels were part of a set of 20 books collectively known as Les Rougon-Macquart. Unlike Balzac who in the midst of his literary career resynthesized his work into La Comédie Humaine, Zola from...more
More about Émile Zola...
Germinal (Les Rougon-Macquart, #13) Nana (Les Rougon-Macquart, #9) Thérèse Raquin L'Assommoir (The Dram Shop) (Les Rougon-Macquart, #7) La Bête humaine (Les Rougon-Macquart, #17)

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