Gabe's Reviews > The Ladies' Paradise

The Ladies' Paradise by Émile Zola
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Nov 01, 09

Read in October, 2009

I really enjoyed this novel- it tells the story of Mouret, an ambitious, Parisian playboy who succeeds in growing his store into Paris’ first mega department store. He succeeds by using a couple of time-tested capitalist tricks: 1) he fools the consumer into buying things they don’t need (while making them feel empowered for it) and 2) he controls his poorly paid staff by creating a system that keeps them busy competing against each other instead of building strength in numbers. I kept waiting for a hero of the proletariat to rise from the pages and bring to truth to power, but it was not meant to be. For this reason, I think this book stands as an expose of capitalism rather than an appeal for something more sensible (a la ‘Germinal’). Zola is a champ
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