Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert


Bored with her marriage to a dull country doctor, Emma Bovary spins fantasy into adultery and rampant overspending.


Ooh-la-la! What a great read! I must say I was surprised at how contemporary this novel felt. Written in 1857, Madame Bovary is a psychological tour-de-force. Emma’s story is about much more than adultery, and it’s far more than just a cautionary tale. When Flaubert said, “Who is Emma Bovary? I am Emma Bovary,” he was speaking for all of us. The book shows how simple it is to compromise yourself–whatever your particular vice happens to be–and justify and excuse and eventually spiral out of control. It’s almost like a crime novel, the way Flaubert details Emma’s transgressions and trickery, or like the first half of an episode of “Intervention,” only no one really loves Emma. I found myself feeling sorry for her, and relating to her, and wishing for her to find a way out. This is definitely a new favorite.

Madame Bovary (Bantam Classics)


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