Well written but not 5 stars because it's depressing
I love this book (the Lydia Davis translated version), not for it's boring plot or detailed descriptions of people, places, clothes and characters. Rather, I love this book for the highly original, beautiful metaphors and lyrical prose writing sprinkled through almost every page (the first 30 pages of the book do not have this style of writing, for some reason - perhaps because it is the set-up). I also love this book for the depth and breadth of psychological revelation. Your ability to read other people and predict their values, beliefs, attitudes, and likely outcomes in the real world is enhanced, enriched, invigorated by this book. Also, the improvement in your language skills and poetic mind will be noticeable by others, and yourself. If you are not past the age of 30, this book may not feel worthy of your time, but give it some patience, and remember that this book has been ranked as one of the top classic novels for a very long time - and for good reason. You might want to first start with reading many short-story classics, and read commentaries online about what the meaning is of their symbolism, motifs, themes, contrasts, and so on, and so forth - before you tackle longer classic novels. Madame Bovary is a book that should be read slowly, thoughtfully, meditatively. It should take you about a month to read - ten pages a day should do it.
An enthralling, nearly life-changing book. I listened to the Kate Reading audiobook of the excellent Lydia Davis translation. Lively characters experience dramatic events in surprisingly relatable ways. It's weird how much of myself I am able to see in this book.
Madame Emma is vain, pretentious, impatient and callous, and I adore her. Her author, Gustave Flaubert, once said "I am Emma Bovary!" -- he knows her joys, her sorrows, and her frustrated bourgeoise aspirations from the inside. Emma is often compared to Anna Karenina (see essay above), and it is interesting to see the contrast between an author who is in love with his heroine (Tolstoy), and makes all the excuses for her he decently can, and an author who wants to ruthlessly expose her (Flaubert), but is madly in love with her anyway. Emma Bovary is a miserable creature, but she attains a kind of greatness in her misery. This story is a reminder of how short, painful, and limited most human lives are, and women's lives perhaps most of all.
May 1, 2015, I am bored with this, but plugging along anyway. I guess I am just not much of a 'classic' reader. As I read it, I am listening to the audio book recording, which was recorded from a different translation, and this makes it challenging! I get different perspectives from both however, and will continue on. Emma sure had some mental health issues! May 7,....on disc 7 of 10.......May 14 2015, I have finally finished this, and I must say the most interesting part was the 'trial' of the book. It was interesting to note that the defense (which was successful!) was based on the fact that poor ole Emma Bovary was educated beyond her position in life, and this was the cause of her unhappiness which caused her to stray! Well.....!......funny that my 25 year old son and his girlfriend come to visit last week, and what are they reading......Madame Bovary! Just too weird!
This is the most boring classic I have ever read.
This is my third reading of Madame Bovary, and each time it has been a different experience. The importance and beauty of this book eluded me until I read this new translation by Lydia Davis, however. If you've tried to read MB before and failed, give Ms. Davis's translation a chance.
Why is the library system and catalog becoming more difficult to use. When I tried to place a hold, I got the message, "there is a problem with your library card -- see a librarian." I am away, but would like to place a hold, so that the book is available when I return to NYC on April 1 as I need it for a book club to which I belong. I saw that my library card may expire soon -- no date of expiration was given. When did this start, and how can I get a new card if I need one before I return to NYC?
Larue (Larry) Lincoln
1 646 530-4022
Finally, I got around to reading this. It is a fascinating book--a portrait of a woman who simply succumbs to an utterly brutal fate. Is it a result of her own vanity and romantic vapidity? Is she a victim of a culture that had created scripts for female desire that could only end in emptiness? Is she just a person, morally neutral, who ends up in a mess? Flaubert refuses to make a judgment, and although it's horrifying to watch the inevitable, almost Greek-tragedy-like fall of Emma's fortunes, it's also completely mesmerizing. Details are rendered with almost neurotic precision. The writing (translated excellently by Lydia Davis) is eloquent but ruthlessly frank. This is, in the end, a cold book, portraying a cold world. Be ready for it if you read it.
I absolutely LOVE this book. I haven't read it in years, but it is one of the very few books that I would re-read over and over again. CLASSIC!!!
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