• The Ladies' Paradise

  • Au Bonheur des Dames
  • By: Émile Zola
  • Narrated by: Leighton Pugh
  • Length: 18 hrs and 19 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (5 ratings)

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Publisher's 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.

Public Domain (P)2021 Naxos AudioBooks UK Ltd.

What listeners say about The Ladies' Paradise

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Zola Hates Women

I wanted to read this book which had an Italian and British series adaptation into TV series’s that I loved so much. The shows took severe liberties to the point of almost no similarity whatsoever. The only conclusion I have is that Emile Zola hates women even more than his famed loathing of aristocrats. Terrible book, but Leighton Pugh gave a wonderful performance.

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  • Douglas Weir
  • 03-17-22

A performance which brought the 19th Century novel to life

Really enjoyed the original story of the French department store that the BBC's English version of The Paradise was based off.
Multiple characters and interweaving storylines follow the central characters and drama with a dose of humour, The Ladies' Paradise was entertaining and with themes completely relatable in the 21st century. The performance was also very good, bringing the French characters to life.