Au Bonheur des Dames (The Ladies' Delight) by Emile Zola
Now the basis for the major BBC tv adaptation The Paradise, this is a lavish drama and a timeless commentary on consumer capitalism. The Penguin Classics edition of Emile Zola's The Ladies' Delight is based on an acclaimed, vivid and modern translation by Robin Buss, who has also introduced the novel.
The Ladies' Delight 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 naive provincial girl, becomes an assistant at the store - and Mouret discovers that he in turn can also be enchanted. With its greedy customers, gossiping staff and vibrant sense of theatre, The Ladies' Delight (Au Bonheur des Dames in the original French) is one of the most richly exciting novels in Zola's Les Rougon-Macquart cycle.
This edition also contains a bibliography, introduction, chronology and explanatory notes.
Emile Zola (1840-1902) was the leading figure in the French school of naturalistic fiction. His principal work, Les Rougon-Macquart, is a panorama of mid-19th century French life, in a cycle of 20 novels which Zola wrote over a period of 22 years, including Au Bonheur des Dames (1883), The Beast Within (1890), Nana (1880), and The Drinking Den (1877).
'A complete page-turner about the consumer society, greed, fashion and instant gratification'
'A fine translation'
The Times Literary Supplement