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What Do Women Want?,
By A Customer
This review is from: The Ladies' Paradise (Paperback)Ostensibly a book about the growth of the sumptuous department stores in Paris, "Au Bonheur des Dames" is also an insightful, and astonishingly prescient essay on the role of women in modern society and the degree to which they are turned into the commodities they are enticed into coveting.
Zola's scientific gaze is sharp and mercilous; and even though the book is a much "happier" look at Paris in the Third Republic than most of the other Rougon-Macquart novels, it is nonetheless a sobering, sophisticated dissection of nineteenth-century capitalism at its most rapacious and seductive.
This is a book that could easily fit on reading lists in Womens Studies, Economic History, or Modern Literature.