Recently adapted for BBC1's lavish production The Paradise
Encapsulating, with luxurious detail, the phenomenon of consumer society‚ obsessed with image, fashion and instant gratification‚ Ladies' Delight
depicts the growth of capitalism through the workings of a new economic entity, the department store. The novel centres around the story of the young Denise, who is seeking work in Paris, and Octave Mouret, the aspirational director of the shopping emporium.
Set in the heart of the city, Zola's novel evokes the giddy pace of Paris's transition into a modern city and the changes in sexual attitudes and class relations taking place at the end of the century.
'Zola overwhelms us with an abundance of description that oscillates
between fantastical lyricism and meticulous
realism, with plenty of rather wry psychological
analysis to hold the two poles together.'
'I consider Zola’s books among the very
best of the present time.'
Vincent Van Gogh
'To enjoy Zola at his best, you have to read one of the great novels, in
which a whole panorama emerges,
as in the work of one of those highly realistic
'Nothing gets a crowd going like sex and shopping. Émile Zola was one of
the first to describe this new consumerist
link in his novel Ladies’ Delight.'
'Perhaps the most famous novel about shopping is Émile Zola’s Ladies’
… For Zola, the department store was a
metaphor for the triumph of capitalism… but he
also saw it as the place where women were duped
and enslaved into the new habit of consumerism.'
'It's an excellent edition!' P.D. Smith
Read an excerpt from Ladies Delight
By the same author: