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Summary

Zola’s The Ladies’ Paradise (Au Bonheur des Dames, 1883) plays out in a colossal and opulent Parisian department store of the same name. Its owner, Octave Mouret, builds his innovative, upmarket women’s fashion empire at the expense of the city’s smaller, traditional shops. 

A self-declared manipulator of women, Mouret not only plays on his female customers’ personal insecurities and social aspirations to keep his takings high, but also exploits his mostly female staff who work long hours in harsh conditions. After a difficult start, one young recruit, Denise Baudu, ends up giving Mouret much more than he bargained for.

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Public Domain (P)2021 Naxos AudioBooks UK Ltd.

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