Velma's Reviews > Madame Bovary

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
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Jan 10, 2014

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bookshelves: classics, fiction, ebooks, setting-culture-europe, boxall-1001-books, 2010-reads, banned-challenged
Read from September 30 to October 09, 2010

This being banned books month, what better way to give the finger to the idea fascists than to read some historical smut?

But this review is a difficult one to write. The story left me cold, and the language, while pretty, is, owing to the third-person perspective of the omniscient narrator, distancing. And man: bored, post-adolescent, romantic twats really get my goat; I wanted to slap the characters out of their clothes. Seems that even (or maybe especially) in the 19th century, romance novels ruled. Then again, had I been bound to Charles for life, I would have probably sought solace elsewhere too.

That said, I did enjoy the book, particularly Flaubert's much-touted way with words. And bearing in mind that steeping his characters in a tea of romance with a capital R was Flaubert's way of condemning the insipid and the self-indulgent. If you are even remotely interested in the day-to-day goings-on of French provincial life, it is worth a read.

ETA 1.10.2014: Picked up a different translation today, the Modern Library edition, in hopes that a re-read will yield better results. Time will tell.
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Quotes Velma Liked

Gustave Flaubert
“Human speech is like a cracked kettle on which we tap crude rhythms for bears to dance to, while we long to make music that will melt the stars.”
Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary

Reading Progress

09/30/2010 page 29
5.0% "Reading in celebration (protest?) of Banned Books Week."
10/02/2010 page 50
17.0% "Waiting for the bow chicka wow wow to start..."
10/02/2010 page 113
38.0% "Mother-in-law's solution to curb her wanton hussy of a daughter-in-law? Take away her library card!"
10/06/2010 page 136
46.0% ""...with a long shudder and hiding her face, she gave herself up to him"? that's it?!? geez, *that* was considered obscene?"
10/07/2010 page 169
57.0% "What is Flaubert's point? Is this the 19th century equivalent of The Young & the Restless? Or, more likely, an 1856 analog to Nora Roberts."
10/08/2010 page 247
84.0% "This Emma really bugs."
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