Frederic Moreau is a law student returning home to Normandy from Paris when he first notices Mme Arnoux, a slender, dark woman several years older than himself. It is the beginning of an infatuation that will last a lifetime. He befriends her husband, an influential businessman, and their paths cross and re-cross over the years. Through financial upheaval, political turmoil, and countless affairs, Mme Arnoux remains the constant, unattainable love of Moreau’s life.
Based on Flaubert’s own youthful passion for an older woman, Sentimental Education blends love story, historical authenticity, and satire to create one of the greatest French novels of the 19th century.
Public Domain ©2012 AudioGO
"There is scarcely any passion without struggle." Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays
Frederic Moreau comes of age in 1840s Paris. Given to flowery fancies of romance, he falls "in love" with Madame Arnoux, a lady at least a decade his senior, and becomes frustrated with the failed revolution of 1848, a Parisian fiasco. Flaubert said he set out to write a "moral history of the men of [his] generation...the history of their feelings... a book about love, about passion... inactive."
I enjoyed the book not so much for the love on verge of coital, a story line that lost its steam about halfway through the novel, but for its lampooning of a decadent, egocentric French society filled with superficial characters given to whimsy, such as the banker Dambreuse, "a man so habituated to corruption that he would happily pay for the pleasure of selling himself." C. Hitchens, “The Rat That Roared,” Wall Street Journal, 2/06/03.
I found Madame Bovary's abbreviated life much more compelling and revelatory than Monsieur Moreau's romantic adventures in pursuit of Madame Arnoux.
Normally I like to get my teeth into a 'big' book, but not this time. Far too much rather boring detail of the pathetic emotional career of one of life's losers
Michael Maloney - a brilliant actor - gives an excellent performance in everything he does, and his reading of this maintains the standard awesomeness we have come to expect from him.
The final scene between Frédéric Moreau and his long-time love Madame Arnoux was tender and brought a tear to my eyes. I love the story because it's like a slice of life - nothing contrived or fantastical, but real and all-too-human.
"Romantic classic - a tale of frustrated love"
Michael Maloney manages to capture in his reading a necessary clarity. He matches Flaubert's transparent prose perfectly with an unmannered reading giving space to consider the story and enjoy the unfolding tale of frustrated love.
Report Inappropriate Content