Set amid the stifling atmosphere of 19th-century bourgeois France, Madame Bovary is at once an unsparing depiction of a woman’s gradual corruption and a savagely ironic study of human shallowness and stupidity. Neither Emma, nor her lovers, nor Homais, the man of science, escapes the author’s searing castigation, and it is the book’s final profound irony that only Charles, Emma’s oxlike, eternally deceived husband, emerges with a measure of human grace through his stubborn and selfless love.
With its rare formal perfection, Madame Bovary represents, as Frank O’Connor has declared, “possibly the most beautifully written book ever composed; undoubtedly the most beautifully written novel…a book that invites superlatives…the most important novel of the century.”
Public Domain (P)2010 Penguin Audio
Well, revisiting this novel was more enjoyable than I expected. I remembered it being very depressing and difficult to get through when I was a good deal younger and less tolerant. I am so glad that I was encouraged to get the audible. It really brought the characters alive for me and elicited greater understanding of Flaubert's masterpiece. Although Emma is a very frustrating character, I found her character to be extremely well crafted. Never dull, always held my attention. An audible that I believe would engage many listeners, as a new experience or as a reawakening to this classic. Thanks for this winner!
This is one of Kate Reading's better narrations, and the material could not be more compelling. Translated by Lydia Davis (master short story writer!), the book is both light and tragic, humorous and disturbing, emotional and cerebral. Flaubert is one of the few who can do that. The tragedy of Emma and the triumphs of Homais are delicately rendered in this smart translation.
Reading reads with perfect inflections, making Emma sound airy and "arty," Charles slow and pitiful, Leon slippery, etc. No silly attempts at trying to sound male; just excellent infusions of the character's personality into his/her voice to make him/her sound believable. The speed is just right. I've heard other narrations by Kate Reading and some don't match up in quality or direction.
The writing style seems so effortless and light that you almost think Flaubert knocked it out with the wave of a hand, but as you keep listening, you realize what a brilliantly composed, tightly plotted piece this is. Also superb is Davis's introduction in the print version. It's not in the audio version, but if you can get your hands on a print (or digi) copy, by all means, read!
Flaubert's writing is absolutely beautiful. His work is almost poetic, and his storytelling, especially from Madame Bovary's point-of-view is so intricately woven that I feel I can reach out and touch her. Kate Reading does a fabulous job with this work, and does it great justice.
Madame Bovary is the character I both love and dislike at the same time. She is so real and tangible to the listener, that one cannot help but connect with her, despite her flaws.
I believe I have listened to her reading of Pride and Prejudice. I think she does a magnificent job. Her voice changes really make you forget you are listening to just one person, yet she is not overly dramatic, which might detract from the experience.
Yes. Unfortunately, I always listen on my way to and from work, so I can only listen to 15-30 minutes at a time!
UMM, CAN I HAVE THE AUDIO VERSION, PLZ!!
George Sand called Flaubert a "Martyr to Style". This seems accurate, his prose ache with profound meaning.
The story is not bad, but Flaubert goes into sometimes excruciating detail over some pretty inconsequential aspects of the story. I was really aching for it to be over about 4 hours before it ended. If I had been reading this, I would certainly have skipped though a lot of the detail.
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