Sunday, April 3, 2011

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

Rating 3/5

Hmm. I have mixed feelings about this book. I think the original french version, or even a different translation than the one I read, may have made for a different experience. As it was, I regularly found myself drifting completely away and not bothering to go back and read the passages I'd been unknowingly skimming. I picked up a lot of hints that, in french, the writing might have been a lot more compelling. This English translation was quite tiresome in places.

Madame Bovary is the kind of character written to be both sympathetic and dislike-able. I've read a couple of other books with characters like her - Middlemarch, Portrait of a Lady - and found them more enjoyable than this one, because those stories had more depth and were able to create more sympathy.

This book definitely had its moments, and there was a decent section in the middle that mostly kept my attention from wandering. I "get" why it's a classic, so I appreciate it, but I didn't enjoy all of it. I'm as ambivalent about the book as a whole as I am about its protagonist, though not for the same reasons. I am, however, glad I read it.

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