The story focuses on a doctor's wife, Emma Bovary, who has adulterous affairs and lives beyond her means in order to escape the banalities and emptiness of provincial life. Though the basic plot is rather simple, even archetypal, the novel's true art lies in its details and hidden patterns. Flaubert was a notorious perfectionist and claimed always to be searching for le mot juste.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Flaubert’s realism gives Madame Bovary an almost cinematic vision. His attention to detail is so painstakingly acute that every scene, whether rural, small provincial town or Paris itself, is fully realized. Similarly with characters: features, appearance, costume, manners, etc. Details of dress and household goods are enlightening and sure to expand vocabulary. Free from the constraints of Victorian prudery and hypocrisy, Flaubert gives us real people with human desires and weaknesses. Where Dickens creates his own world, Flaubert gives us a real world. There is none of the coy sentimentality
ones sees, for example with Bella, her father and the Boffins (Our Mutual Friend). Nor the heavy handed satire. The death scene of Madame Bovary is honest and harrowing. His knowledge of literature and music is equally inspiring. A great writer.