Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Madame Bovary

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

Madame Bovary is a bored housewife. A farmers daughter educated in a convent, Emma married the first man she met whim she returned home. Charles Bovary is an uninspiring, unambitious health official for the village/

After Charles assists the Marquis d'Andervilliers, the Bovary's are invited to a ball. Emma thinks they've "arrived". But there is no invitation the next year and Emma becomes depressed. Charles moves her to another town thinking she needs a change of scenery. She meets a law student, Léon Dupris, and the two are attracted but nothing happens. So Léon leaves to continue his studies.

Rich landowner Rodolphe Boulanger meets Emma and decides to seduce her. They carry on an affair for several years, but slowly Emma decides this is not enough.She and Rodolphe decide to run away together. But Rodolphe sends her a Dear John at the last minute. Depression and illness hit Emma again.

After her recovery, she meets Léon again. They begin the affair they missed the first time they met. But, as usual with Emma, this is eventually not enough.

First published in 1857, Madame Bovary caused quite a stir. Considered obscene, it was put on trial the following year. With all the publicity, the book went on to be a bestseller.

There are few likable characters in the book but it's still a great read.

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