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January meetup: "The Ladies' Paradise" ("Au Bonheur des Dames") by Emile Zola

"The Ladies' Paradise" (Au Bonheur des Dames) by Emile Zola recounts the development of the modern department store in late nineteenth-century Paris.

The store is a symbol of capitalism, of the modern city, and of the bourgeois family; it is emblematic of consumer culture and the changes in sexual attitudes and class relations taking place at the end of the century.

Octave Mouret, the store's owner-manager, masterfully exploits the desires of his female customers.

In his private life as much as in business he is the great seducer. But when he falls in love with the innocent Denise Baudu, he discovers she is the only one of the salesgirls who refuses to be commodified.

Now adapted for BBC Television and given a British setting in the TV drama "The Paradise", Zola's novel is a masterly portrayal of life in the bustling, gossipy world of the best department store in town.

The link below is to the current TV tie-in edition. But you'll probably find older and cheaper editions too. Some are published under the French title "Au Bonheur des Dames").

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  • Stephan S.

    Sorry I couldn't finish the book in time, will be at the next one

    January 13, 2014

  • Guadalupe

    It is a bit difficult to hear what others are saying ,but I loved the meeting. Thank you

    January 12, 2014

  • Paula b.

    So sorry I could. It make it my daughter was rushed by ambulance to A&E with a suspected slipped disc had to go to her. All well it is muscular which we were all relived to hear.

    January 12, 2014

    • Justin

      Eek. Sorry to hear that but glad all is well.

      January 12, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    An impressive turnout of very friendly, highly sophisticated book lovers, superbly orchestrated by Justin

    January 12, 2014

  • terri

    Unfortunately I haven't had time to finish the book this month so will hopefully meet you all next month!

    January 12, 2014

    • Justin

      That's okay. See you next time.

      January 12, 2014

  • David M.

    Hi. Having been struck down by some mid January bug I am now unable to make today, but will come along next month. A shame, as I really enjoyed the book.

    1 · January 12, 2014

    • Justin

      Wish you better. Seems to be a lot of it about.

      January 12, 2014

  • Anjum

    I am sorry I wasn't able to make it today. Made a lastminute decision to stay in as I was feeling unwell. Really enjoyed reading the book - now ready for video! See you next time.

    January 12, 2014

    • Justin

      Wish you better, Anjum. Hope to see you next time.

      January 12, 2014

  • Gemma H.

    Hi all, I have just joined this group. I won't be able to make tomorrow's as I haven't read the book but I am aiming to come to February's and look forward to meeting you all then :-)

    January 11, 2014

  • Stephan S.

    Will not be able to make it on Sunday, but hope to make it next month.

    January 6, 2014

  • Louise N.

    Yes it was!

    January 3, 2014

  • Humphrey

    That had a very abrupt ending!

    December 24, 2013

  • isabelle

    I don't know how useful this will be to anybody else, but the French edition on Kindle is free on Amazon (and I think some other sites as well, but I didn't look any further - it looks like it's public domain - but don't quote me on this!). And it does seem to be the complete text, as opposed to a study text as mentioned in some of the reviews. But, yes, probably not that useful unless you want to read it in French, sorry. :-)

    November 12, 2013

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