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Editorial Reviews

Popular actress Leelee Sobieski’s performs Gustave Flaubert’s classic Madame Bovary, articulating the masterful author’s mots justes while bringing a sultry and sumptuous touch to the story of mad passion. The novel, now a classic, was controversial when it was released in 1856, taking a turn away from the popular romantic works of its time to describe adultery in a more realistic light. The story concerns Emma Bovary and her yearning for more than the married life can offer, which, while resulting in tragedy and hardship, is not judged morally. Fans of this instrumental work of realism and first-time listeners alike will relish the ups and downs of this contemporary reading.

Publisher's Summary

One hundred and fifty years ago, Gustave Flaubert set the bar for scandal, adultery, and financial catastrophe with Madame Bovary. Now, Audible Signature Classics presents two-time Golden Globe Award nominee Leelee Sobieski (Joan of Arc) in a singular new performance that highlights the ambiguity behind a brilliantly crafted character: was Emma Bovary depraved or just a victim of circumstance?

This is the story of a beautiful woman who marries a devoted, provincial doctor, but believes she was meant for something more—a life of luxury, leisure, and, above all, true and passionate love. She throws herself headlong into a reckless series of doomed affairs, with tragic consequences, and plunges her family into financial ruin.

Sobieski’s Emma is sultry but vulnerable, offering a sympathetic rendering of the feckless madame and her plight in this cautionary tale of love, passion, and desperation. Will you condemn the madame?

Listen to more one-of-a-kind performances from actors Elijah Wood, Kenneth Branagh, David Hyde Pierce, and more, only from Audible Signature Classics.

Public Domain (P)2010 Audible, Inc.

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Very tough to get through!

Although I have always had a rule that I never give up on a book before I finish it, this one was tough. The narrator was abominable! She tries so hard to have good diction that she sounds like an automaton. Then, when she does use emphasis, it is usually inappropriate. The narrator ruined the story.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Diane
  • Dexter, OR, United States
  • 04-10-11

excellent timeless story

Modame Bovary is a surprisingly current book. The emotions of love and want are so well articulated. You can really see yourself in the people. The reader is a bit strident in her rendition, which detracts a bit. But the story is fabulous.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Madame Bovary

Wonderful book, but the narration was mediocre at best. I've never said anything negative about a narrator before, but have to in this case. Because of the boring narration, it was difficult making it to the end. Like I said, though, the book itself is wonderful.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Darwin8u
  • Mesa, AZ, United States
  • 07-25-15

Never touch your idols: the gilding will stick

Lessons learned in 300 pages/11 hours: Bored French women are trouble. Men are NOT to be trusted. Doctors don't know jack. If you want your kids to have a good job, raise them to be pharmacists or pawn brokers. Don't buy crap you can't afford. Don't get into debt. If you are going to kill yourself, do it right. Hide your notes. Marry for love.

Oh, and if given a chance to re-read this classic do it. If you can listen do it. If you can close your eyes and listen to Leelee Sobieski narrate, definitely do THAT. Her voice is finished, seductive and smooth as an expensive European chocolate. Whoever chose her to narrate this novel deserves more money and responsibility.

24 of 30 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

narration almost unbearable

I enjoy audiobooks when exercising, long drives, mundane housework, etc. The narration to this book was absolutely awful. Her voice was like nails on a chalkboard at times--especially during dramatic parts of the book. What a shame to have such poor narration to such a great novel.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Terrible narration

I was looking forward to finally listening to this book since it is a classic and I like Leelee Sobieski as an actress. I could not get past her strange pauses/breaks in reading and the lack of emotion from the characters. At times, listening was almost unbearable...especially when she did the male voices while they were arguing or having discussions. Her reading got a little better towards the end but it was a disappointment as a whole.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

great book; tortured delivery

A fabulous book that is narrated poorly. Sobieski sounds like a student who, while clearly excited by the language and action, spits out the tale in a clumsy, uneven fashion. A disappointing experience.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Narrator sounds like an angry robot

I am 1/4 of the way through this audiobook. The narrator is just awful. Literally, she sounds like an angry robot and tends to push out and put too much emphasis with the last word of every sentence. This "actress" is an awful narrator. I am shocked that no one coached her how to read. I cannot bear to listen to this book any longer. This book is intolerable to listen to. I know this review sounds over dramatic...... but the narrator has ruined this classic piece of literature. DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY!

7 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Ruth
  • Wausau, WI, United States
  • 01-16-11

Madame Bovary

Very hard to follow and agree with the previous review - kept listening hoping it would get better, and it did not. Stopped after book 1. Darn - wasted credit.

7 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • rebecca
  • florence, OR, United States
  • 01-08-11

Fantastic!

Leelee Sobieski does a fantastic job drawing you into the characters and storyline. I enjoyed listening to this much more than reading it. I totally recommend it!!!

8 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Michael
  • 03-12-11

Madame Bovary

I was very disappointed with the narrator Leelee Sobieski. Her English pronunciation at times was curious. Her French pronunciation on the other hand was good.Her dramatic style at times was irritating and her attempt at characterisation was feeble. Overall her narration distracted from the story and in another narrators hands I would not have struggled to finish the book.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • L. McCulloch
  • 01-17-15

A poor reading

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

A reading by someone who was more familiar with the text. I almost gave up half way through. I did give up three quarters of the way through.

How could the performance have been better?

The reader often places the wrong stress in a sentence, not anticipating the meaning properly.

What character would you cut from Madame Bovary: A Signature Performance by Leelee Sobieski?

None - I prefer unabridged versions

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Lily S
  • 02-05-15

Very bleak!

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

No - quite bleak and didn't connect with any of the characters. I didn't really care what happened to them.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • gbswales
  • 12-30-14

A new classic for me

It was very well read and a classic I was not familiar with. I downloaded simply to try out the whispersync audio with a free classic and found that I enjoyed it despite the rather old language which requires concentration to follow

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Bob
  • 11-30-14

Classic and Tragic

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would definitely recommend this to a friend, it is an often overlooked classic. Many people will have seen adaptations and know the basic story but perhaps not have read the book. The quality of language and description brings this story to life in a way that dramatisations cannot. The translation is good and the main characters are definitely understood in terms of their actions and motivations.

Which character – as performed by Leelee Sobieski – was your favourite?

Monsieur Bovary is a character that I've never quite understood when watching dramatisations before actually reading and then hearing the book. As a result of this reading I have a clearer picture of this misunderstood character and consequently much greater sympathy.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful