When I read that this was considered by many to be the greatest French novel ever (and particularly this translation), I simply had to read it. It does not disappoint. The prose flows over you like dark clouds. Emma is a dreamer, and her dreaming puts her in a vortex that inevitably brings her to a tragic end. A cautionary tale.
I had to read this for one of my classes. I don't think I'd've read it otherwise, but it was a decent book. Well written
the timeless masterpiece of the original Desperate Housewife.
What a sad, yet honest, tale. While I dont identify with Emma Bovarys unhappiness with her husband, I absolutely understand her desire to seek out something more in life and to feel fully alive.
In a lot of ways, I despaired along with her when she would think of missed opportunities or things she wished she could do. I sympathize with her longing to see more of the world, to perhaps find something more for herself or a deeper purpose. Given that I have better chances and a different kind of life, I dont feel as trapped as Emma must have felt, and I certainly would have gone about my quests in a different manner, but I do think the root of all that is in me.
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I read this book as part of my challenge to read more classic literature in 2011. I feel like this book was an excellent choice. The writing was wonderful, particularly in Part One. Personally, I struggled with Part Two. I cannot put my finger on why exactly. I did not see a major change in the writing style or anything. Part Three felt more like Part One to me, I was able to get through it quickly.
(some spoiles below)
I originally found Emma to be an annoying character, but as I thought more about her I do not think all of it is her fault. She does have unrealistic expectations of what love and marriage are, but she had very little exposure to either growing up. She has a selfish nature that leads her to not be able to see beyond her own immediate desires to the wants or needs of others, but it seems that she was raised that way. In a lot of ways, I felt like her father should have held more of the blame for some of the ways that Emma approached life.
I felt that Charles was a little foolish as well for not seeing what was going on in his household right under his nose, but as I thought more about him I felt that his upbringing probably had an effect as well. His mother seems to be the stronger willed of his parents (or maybe the one whose influence affected him the most) and seems to be in charge of a lot of things. So it may not have been noteworthy to him that Emma wanted to be in charge of the finances. As much as he seemed to dislike his father, he seemed to have become his father. He focused on his own pursuits, particularly related to his work, and decided to not look too closely at Emma's actions.
The true victim in all of this was Charles and Emma's child. Her parents seemed to have little or no interest in her or her well-being. While both parents focused and died for their own "loves" or "passions," she ended up alone and working at a young age to support herself. While Emma's "loves" all moved on; her daughter paid the price for Emma's mistakes. As a parent myself, I think this is the one part or aspect of the book that really struck me hard.