Madame Bovary

Gustave Flaubert

fiction Classics Literary
emotional reflective slow-paced
'Oh, why, dear God, did I marry him?'

Emma Bovary is beautiful and bored, trapped in her marriage to a mediocre doctor and stifled by the banality of provincial life. An ardent devourer of sentimental novels, she longs for passion and seeks escape in fantasies of high romance, in voracious spending and, eventually, in adultery. But even her affairs bring her disappointment, and when real life continues to fail to live up to her romantic expectations, the consequences are devastating. Flaubert's erotically charged and psychologically acute portrayal of Emma Bovary caused a moral outcry on its publication in 1857. It was deemed so lifelike that many women claimed they were the model for his heroine; but Flaubert insisted: 'Madame Bovary, c'est moi.'

This modern translation by Flaubert's biographer, Geoffrey Wall, retains all the delicacy and precision of the French original. The edition also contains a preface by the novelist Michèle Roberts.

What the community thinks

summary of 572 ratings (see reviews)

Moods

reflective 100%
sad 75%
challenging 50%
dark 25%
emotional 25%
funny 25%

Pace

slow 100%

Strong character development?

It's complicated: 50% | Yes: 50%

Loveable characters?

No: 50% | Yes: 25% | It's complicated: 25%

Diverse cast of characters?

No: 100%

Flaws of characters centre-stage?

Yes: 100%

Average rating

3.24