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Group Reads > Salammbô

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message 1: by Nell (new)

Nell Grey (nellgrey) | 1682 comments The thread to discuss Salammbô by Gustave Flaubert.


message 2: by Little (new)

Little Miss Esoteric (littlemissesoteric) | 1116 comments I have a copy and ready to go. The first paragraph alone has drawn me in :)


message 3: by Bryn (new)

Bryn Hammond (brynhammond) | 252 comments I must have ditched my old Penguin as too ratty. Have fallen back on the public domain ebook, without a translator named. I tend to like (and trust) antique translations though.


message 4: by Nell (new)

Nell Grey (nellgrey) | 1682 comments I have it on my Kindle too - will start soonish.


message 5: by Nell (new)

Nell Grey (nellgrey) | 1682 comments I've read the first and some of the second chapter. Wonderful descriptions - I'd love to know whether these are based on research or artistic licence. I've had to stop for tonight though - can't take any more cruelty to animals.


message 6: by Little (new)

Little Miss Esoteric (littlemissesoteric) | 1116 comments It's rich in imagery isn't it? Very evocative. The slaughter and cruelty are over the top but appropriate. I'm sure from the blurb it is just going to get bloodier too. I have noticed that General Gisco's beard seems to change colour part way in, from white (p.6) to black (p.54). Did he dye it, or did Flaubert get confused and forget? Probably petty of me to notice, but his beard is a distinguishing feature...


message 7: by Bryn (new)

Bryn Hammond (brynhammond) | 252 comments I've read two chapters. It's fun. Barbarians and the (decadent) City is one of my favourite themes. At times I'm laughing at it, am I meant to?

Reminds me of Salome.


message 8: by Silver (new)

Silver Considering I did not enjoy Madame Bovary I was a bit hesitant about reading another book by the same author, but I was intrigued by this one and it is certainly a very different book.

There is something about that does make it rather fun to read in a way. I enjoy the scene of debauchery, and I thought that Falubert did do a very good job of giving very detailed descriptions without being overly verbose or too didactic. I really liked the way in which he really captured the chaos of the scene.


message 9: by Nell (new)

Nell Grey (nellgrey) | 1682 comments Bryn wrote: "I've read two chapters. It's fun. Barbarians and the (decadent) City is one of my favourite themes. At times I'm laughing at it, am I meant to?

Reminds me of Salome."


Fun... *~*

Are you really laughing at it, Brynn? Now you're scaring me...

The title immediately reminded me of Salome herself, not to mention the cover, although - so far at - least, the lady herself seems very different.


message 10: by Nell (new)

Nell Grey (nellgrey) | 1682 comments Just finished Chapter 2. It's all very filmic and spectacular - like one of those biblical epics by Cecil B. Demille.


message 11: by Little (last edited Feb 05, 2014 02:33PM) (new)

Little Miss Esoteric (littlemissesoteric) | 1116 comments It's over the top. I will admit I have had a chuckle or two as well. Flaubert's repulsion for Carthage and its gods shows clearly. (Although I'm no fan of Moloch either.) I'm sure he just couldn't resist including the leprous Hanno. But the description of the veil was absolutely wonderful!

Nell wrote: "Just finished Chapter 2. It's all very filmic and spectacular - like one of those biblical epics by Cecil B. Demille."

Exactly. :) I would love to see a Zack Synder version. He'd have a field day. (As in 300: http://www.google.com.au/search?q=300...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/300_(film))


message 12: by Silver (new)

Silver I just read chapter 3 and I really enjoyed being given a closer look at Salammbo. I thought that was quite an interesting chapter. The descriptions were so vivid and rich.

I agree it does have a very flimic quality to it, and reading it, and picturing it within my mind put me in the mind of some of the classic period movies, many of which were quite gaudy.


message 13: by Little (new)

Little Miss Esoteric (littlemissesoteric) | 1116 comments Although I'm enjoying it, and am half way through I haven't connected to any of the characters, and have no sympathy for their plights. Does anyone else feel the same way?


message 14: by Nell (last edited Feb 06, 2014 06:26AM) (new)

Nell Grey (nellgrey) | 1682 comments Silver wrote: "I just read chapter 3 and I really enjoyed being given a closer look at Salammbo. "

Definitely! I'd have loved that chapter except for all the exclamation marks, which somehow made what she was about less serious - as if Flaubert wasn't quite with her - a lack of empathy, perhaps.

Little wrote: "Although I'm enjoying it, and am half way through I haven't connected to any of the characters, and have no sympathy for their plights. Does anyone else feel the same way?"

Not quite connected to Salammbo yet, but would love to read more of her. Lots more of Salammbo and less of the damned Barbarians and their carry on.


message 15: by Little (new)

Little Miss Esoteric (littlemissesoteric) | 1116 comments Gah. Feeling slightly queasy. Epically over dramatic in every way..


message 16: by Nell (new)

Nell Grey (nellgrey) | 1682 comments Further on now (reunion with her father) and think maybe she won't become the character I'd hoped and imagined her to be. And Flaubert was apparently an admirer of the Marquis de Sade. Gah indeed...


message 17: by Little (new)

Little Miss Esoteric (littlemissesoteric) | 1116 comments I had hoped for a little more Salammbo development too. It is very de Sade inspired, excrement references where ever Flaubert could fit them in, and the last chapters just wallow in sensational excesses. The ending was just plain ridiculous. I've given it two stars but then again the story and imagery really linger, so I'm probably being too hard on it.


message 18: by Bryn (new)

Bryn Hammond (brynhammond) | 252 comments I'm still at 20%, waiting until the right mood comes back, because in the right mood I was enjoying this, even if in a funny way. I believe Flaubert had grave doubts himself?

I used to like the French Decadent writers a fair bit and this is certainly in that vein.


message 19: by Little (new)

Little Miss Esoteric (littlemissesoteric) | 1116 comments I did enjoy it. Although I felt that like de Sade, Flaubert tried too hard to shock, so at times the scenes become ludicrous.


message 20: by Nell (new)

Nell Grey (nellgrey) | 1682 comments Bryn wrote: "I'm still at 20%, waiting until the right mood comes back, because in the right mood I was enjoying this, even if in a funny way. I believe Flaubert had grave doubts himself?

"


Have you read it before, Brynn? That could make a lot of difference as to impressions - it's the first for me, so not being prepared I found the initial chapters horrifying. Hope I didn't dampen your mood and spoil it for you earlier :(


message 21: by Nell (last edited Feb 08, 2014 03:24AM) (new)

Nell Grey (nellgrey) | 1682 comments I'm tired of battles and all the other nastiness, but have to admire the writing...


message 22: by Bryn (new)

Bryn Hammond (brynhammond) | 252 comments Nell wrote: "Have you read it before, Brynn?..."

The honest answer is, I didn't finish. And I think I was a teenager. :) No, no, I wasn't dampened. I might read tentatively because I have no idea what to make of this book.

I can't help but wonder: if he's out to shock and horrify, how does he stack up against today's violent hf novelists? Let's see...


message 23: by Nell (new)

Nell Grey (nellgrey) | 1682 comments Bryn wrote: "I can't help but wonder: if he's out to shock and horrify, how does he stack up against today's violent hf novelists? Let's see... "

I don't read today's violent fiction, so can't tell, but it's possible he felt he had in some way to exceed or at least match the impact of Madame Bovary, yet needed to write something completely different to show his versatility.

Almost halfway through and tried to continue last night, but couldn't somehow work up any interest and it fell from my hand. Maybe curiosity will draw me back later...


message 24: by Bryn (new)

Bryn Hammond (brynhammond) | 252 comments I'm about 50%.
I was just thinking this is sort of atrocious, then in the next chapter I met Hamilcar, who - at least in introspective moments - seems the most characterised, so far. The battle I'm in the middle of isn't bad.

I have a large bio of Flaubert, which I did read. I can look up the Salammbo-writing part.


message 25: by Bryn (new)

Bryn Hammond (brynhammond) | 252 comments I don't know, there are glimpses...
And I have come to distrust my public domain translation, by I don't know who. Reviews say what I know to be the case, that Flaubert is a Writer, a stylist, and you read this for the way it's written. I don't think my pd is giving me much like an authentic picture, at sentence-level where he works. I'd hate to judge it, unless at least I look at the Penguin.


message 26: by Little (new)

Little Miss Esoteric (littlemissesoteric) | 1116 comments Hamilcar was by far my favourite character in the book.


message 27: by Silver (new)

Silver I have just gotten to the point of the return of Hamilcar. Thus far I am still enjoying the book. In a way I do find the over dramatic aspect of it to be amusing. I don't take the book too seriously, but I find it is to be a fun, and sensational read and I kind of like the kind of crazy chaotic feeling it has. I kind of like just getting lost in all the details and description. It is such a visual book.

I have to say I find myself liking Matho. I don't know if he is necessarily a likable person, but as a character I find him rather interesting, and at points to be a bit amusing.


message 28: by Nell (new)

Nell Grey (nellgrey) | 1682 comments I'm still creeping through it - having no real interest in the logistics or tactics of battles or in most of the characters - and hoping for some more Salammbô .

I'm beginning to wonder if she's not just a device to keep Matho on his violent course - a sort of Carthaginian Helen of Troy - and otherwise unimportant. A pity if so, as the character seemed full of promise at the beginning.


message 29: by Old-Barbarossa (new)

Old-Barbarossa | 591 comments Will catch up. PC broken. Building a new one. Typing on a feckin' phone.
Calling tech deities bad and barbarous names as a result.


message 30: by Old-Barbarossa (new)

Old-Barbarossa | 591 comments And big weather has broken everything... interweb too.


message 31: by Little (new)

Little Miss Esoteric (littlemissesoteric) | 1116 comments Good luck O.B Looking forward to your return.


Joseph “Millennium Man” (millenniumman) | 70 comments Started today. First chapter read - this looks awesome.


Joseph “Millennium Man” (millenniumman) | 70 comments I was taken away by the descriptions. Gem encrusted.., ostrich feathers, Ivory, .... exotic, decadent, lavish. I could not imagine such a place existed.

Finished btw.


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