by Gustave Flaubert (Lydia Davis translator)
Viking Adult; First Edition edition (September 23, 2010)
384 pages - 27.95 $
Why that book
Because one day I discovered with delight some sites where you can read the "old" books and by old, I mean those fallen into the public domain. I therefore told me "Well, I could took the opportunity to read classics, just to see if I want to have them in my library?" This is how I read Madame Bovary (before I bought it cause in truth I love having book on my shelves!) and also because you have to admit, this is a book that must be read once in one's life and it joined my literary quest for eclecticism with the ulterior goal of having books of literature called "noble" or "white" on my bookshelf next to my many thrillers and fantasy books.
It's also a part of the 100 which therefore left me with 99 others to read!
Charles Bovary, a country doctor, remarried with young Emma Rouault, daughter of a rich farmer in a convent in Normandy.
Fed with romantic novels, she quickly becomes bored with her mediocre and devoted husband and among the middle-class people of her town. Dreaming of a more exciting life, she abandons her maternal role and gives herself to lovers who leave her equally dissatisfied. Emma carries within her the seeds of disease that will prevail: the "bovarysm" ...
What I think of it
Er ... in fact, I really moderately liked it. I do not deny the quality of the writing and vivid descriptions. What I did not like was Emma (which is unfortunate given that the novel revolves around her). It seems that I'm not quite "romantic" enough cause Bovarysm bothers me deeply. I endured with difficulty what I considered like procrastination and whims of young madcap from Emma. That said - and despite my intense desire to slap her by times - the book is a perfect portrait of that kind of inhibited society stuck in its moral precepts.
In a nutshell
A novel to read - if only because it is part of the list ... - or just because it's a classic and the writing is beautiful and transcribes that time very well.
Good to know
The novel caused a scandal at the time. Just think, an author who dares to make a girl of good family raised in a convent a young unfaithful and dissatisfied wife. Flaubert almost end up in jail for making a too realistic portrayal of society, but he was acquitted. Unknowingly he created the concept of Bovarysm that is, according to Lettre.org, a "state of dissatisfaction, emotionally and socially, which occurs especially in certain neurotic young women and results in excessive and vain ambitions, a leak in the imaginary and the romantic "(http://www.lettres.org/files/bovarysme.html).
Good to know 2: the idea for the novel came to him from a real piece of news: the second wife of a doctor (Eugène Delamare) committed suicide after cheating and ruining her husband who in turn commit suicide by poisons. (In French : http://www2.unil.ch/unicom/allez_savoir/as36/pages/5_faits_divers2.html).