Émile Zola
Penguin Classics, New York, 2001, English
ISBN: 9780140447835

From the Publisher. "There was a riot, the press of a crowd heated up by a month of advertising, eyes turned upwards and jaws hanging before the monumental façade of Au Bonheur des Dames...the temple raised to the extravagant follies of Fashion" Au Bonheur des Dames is the glittering Paris department store run by Octave Mouret. He has used charm and drive to become director of this mighty emporium, unscrupulously exploiting his young female staff and seducing his lady customers with luxurious displays of shimmering silks, satins, velvets and lace. Then Denise Baudu, a naïve provincial girl, becomes an assistant at the store, and Mouret discovers that he in turn can be charmed. With its vivid portrayal of greedy customers and gossiping staff, its lavish descriptions and sense of theatre, Au Bonheur des Dames is a rich and exciting novel. The eleventh in Zola's great cycle Les Rougon-Macquart, it is a timeless commentary on modern consumer society. This edition, which was translated by Robin Buss, includes an Introduction, full bibliography, full Zola chronology and explanatory notes.

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Matali Crasset

As a teenager, I often read and reread Emile Zola, whose novel about the happiness of women was one of my favorite books, depicting an entire mural of society. I don’t know how to account for my fascination with this book today, but along with the love story between Denise Baudu and Octave Mouret, I think it was the social portrait that so enthused me.

Adolescente, j'ai beaucoup lu et relu Emile Zola, dont le roman au bonheur des dames était un de mes livres de chevet, la description de cette fresque sociale en regard de l'évolution de la société. Je ne sais pas comment regarder cette fascination pour ce livre aujourd'hui, mais plus que l'histoire d'amour entre Denise Baudu et Octave Mouret, je crois que c'est le tableau social qui m'a enthousiamé.

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