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Publisher's Summary

Emma Bovary is not content to be the mere dutiful wife of a French country doctor. She yearns for excitement and a sense of romance that pulls at her so strongly she is powerless to resist, even though pursuing her dreams will exact a terrible price. Learn why Gustave Flaubert's compelling heroine has enchanted and puzzled readers for centuries.

Translation by Eleanor Marx-Aveling, originally published in 1886.
Public Domain (P)1989 Recorded Books, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"If one were to ask, 'World, which is the most perfect novel ever written?,' the world would immediately answer: Madame Bovary." (Washington Post's Book World)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.5 out of 5.0
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Performance

  • 3.9 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 3.6 out of 5.0
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  • Overall

Good narrator, terrible recording

The story is tried-and-true, filled with lust, greed, bad choices, and decay. Davina Porter is a wonderful narrator, and does well with the French language. However, this sounds like someone converted an ancient 8-track to digital, complete with squeaks, dragging, hisses, etc. At some points it was unlistenable. This classic deserves a fresh, new update!

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Jessica
  • WOODLAND HILLS, CA, United States
  • 04-02-06

great story, bad recording

Madame Bovary is a great story and Davina is a fantastic reader (she's great in Anna Karinina),but unfortunately they are both lost to poor sound quality. The audio is so muffled it takes a lot of effort to understand even a few words. Until a better recording is available, best stick with the book (a good translation is available on Barnes & Noble or Bantam Classics, but avoid Penguin Classics on this title; it's not very good).

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Now Here's a Story

Divina Porter gave so much life to Madame Bovary, and of course with no small contribution by its author, the book has a permanent position in my mental book shelf. Hours and hours of listening feeling like I was watching Emma coming apart and taking down the entire cast with her. So well written, you love and pity Emma, feel sorry for Charles and loathe the symbolic money lender for giving her the ability to do it all.

At the end all the tragic, tortured revelations, one glaring irony has a woman coming to collect a debt for Emma's lessons (lessons never taken but used as a cover up to her husband). The 'teacher' approaches poor Emma's suffering husband for a year of "lessons" not taken.

Ah the turn of the screw, the turn of the phrase. On the surface you can read a tale of a "Scarlet O'Hara" in reverse, a woman with everything who longs for a perfect love in a perfect and handsome man. She has all the "things" she needs, but belives she is without love. Her doting husband loves and trusts her, too simple a man to suspect her betrayals. In the end he drinks with one of her lovers proclaiming no bad feelings toward the man. Until the end, his love for her, the very love she sought in every wrong situation, honored her and maintained his belief in her perfection, even as her old love letters fell from his hands. The effect of her never finding what she wants costs him all that his small medical practice provided. (There's no place like home. She had the slippers on all the time!)

The side stories and political, religious and social commentary retell the trysts and errors that Emma commits on her road to ruin. The author uses Emma as the symbol of excess and the outcome as predictions of the future. Emma stands for the cost of immoral actions. Whether God or the taxman, someone gets paid. A compendium of archetypal characters we know and love, dressed in 3D emotion, vivid characterization; speaking words precise and poetic. Pretty near perfect!

19 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Julie
  • San Jose, CA, USA
  • 09-19-06

Bad sound quality

I wish I could hear this recording. Sound quality is really bad. Audible should have another unabridged recording of this great book.

sigh

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Celia
  • New Orleans LA
  • 06-29-05

Fantastic!

It has been over 30 years since I read Madame Bovary in High School French class. Back then she seemed inexplicalbly crazed. What an unbelievable difference revisiting the story as a 50+ year old with some world experience behind me. Fascinating story, wonderfully read. I enjoyed this very much.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

BBC calling from London

The recording sounded like an old BBC shortwave broadcast.
Museum piece story that time has passed by.


5 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

A timeless classic!

I can now see why this was one of Hemingway's favorites. Though the recording may be older, Davina's reading was flawless.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Great read. Great story.

The narrator performance truly complimented such a captivating story. Would strongly recommend the purchase of this audio book.

  • Overall
  • Katelyn
  • el mirage, AZ, USA
  • 05-15-09

Hate isn't strong enough

I wish I had never wasted my credit on this book, even more so I wish that it was possible to give these reviews zero stars! Don't get me wrong, I love books from this time period, Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Henry James.... but this was not one of them. Other than the fact that this book is considered a 'classic', (don't know what they were thinking) I decided to waste my credit on it because Davina Porter narrated this book and generally she is amazing. I think she held up to her normally high standard here but even so it was impossible to make this book interesting. By the end of the book I was ready to poison Madame Bovary myself.

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  • Roo
  • 04-01-15

Tragic love story

This story of tragic love loses none of its power no matter how many times I hear it.
Madam Bovary is one of histories saddest victims of men's wickedness.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Welsh Mafia
  • 12-27-08

The road to Rouen

Published in 1857, Emma Bovary remains the modern woman and the contemporary parallels are particularly striking when compared against the striking lack of a current novel with similar insight. The bounds of Realism are established and stretched; Emma is a troubled and troubling individual the equal of whom has only been seen in Edith Wharton?s Lily Bart. Classic European literature, visiting on the reader the personal corruption and moral high ground from which we have not yet been delivered in these times of consumer fetish and credit crunch.
With Revolutionary Road in hand, it is also an opportunity to review the state of marriage in literature ? the totally abashed Charles Bovary a peerless portrait in ruin.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful