Bibliofemme Bookclub An Irish Bookclub

January 10, 2012

Madam Bovary – Gustave Flaubert

Filed under: Bookclub Books,Classics — The DJ @ 3:07 pm
Madame Bovary Book Cover Madame Bovary
Gustave Flaubert, Geoffrey Wall,
Penguin UK

Meeting: Monday 16th July 2003

I picked this book to get us away from contemporary literature. Known as a classic that divides critics, I thought it would (and it did!) generate lively debate. This slow-moving tale is an overly descriptive account of provincial life in nineteenth century France. It specifically focuses on Emma Bovary, a selfish wife bored by domesticity. She has many flaws but I thought she was an engaging character even though I didn’t like her. Flaubert is particularly cruel, chastising her for her adultery and his sexual morality in the book verges on misogynous. The group were divided on the book but I liked it. The attention to detail got tedious and many of the characters were unbelievable, irritating or both. That said, it deserves some regard for its contribution to the development of the novel and its snapshot of a bygone era in France. Not very illuminating but worth a read. 2/5

Score awarded by Bibliofemme: 2 out of 5

What the other femmes had to say

The Techie “Couldn’t get into it at all, lovely descriptive prose, over and over and over again!” 2/5

The Connoisseur “Probably amazing for its time, but it didn’t engage me.” 2/5

The Historian “An irritating morality tale with an entirely slappable heroine.” 2/5

The Writer “Interesting in terms of structure and style, but Flaubert’s central female character has not stood the test of time.” 2/5

The Artist “While set in the 1800’s in France I believe this book does hold many comparisons to the modern woman’s life. However unconfined we may be, we all have the capacity to want something we cant have or be a silly bint.” 3/5

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