Join us for a discussion of Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert. The suggested translation and winner of the poll is by Lydia Davis, but we welcome you to share your thoughts on whichever version you prefer. As usual, feel free to join us even if you are unable to finish - or even start - the book.
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert, Lydia Davis (Translator)
Seven years ago, the incomparable Lydia Davis brought us an award- winning, rapturously reviewed new translation of Marcel Proust's Swann's Way that was hailed as "clear and true to the music of the original" (Los Angeles Times) and "a work of creation in its own right" (Claire Messud, Newsday). Now she turns her gifts to the book that defined the novel as an art form.
When Emma Rouault marries dull, provincial doctor Charles Bovary, her dreams of an elegant and passionate life crumble. She escapes into sentimental novels but finds her fantasies dashed by the tedium of her days. Motherhood proves to be a burden; religion is only a brief distraction. She spends lavishly and embarks on a series of disappointing affairs. Soon heartbroken and crippled by debts, Emma takes drastic action with tragic consequences for her husband and daughter. When published in 1857, Madame Bovary was embraced by bourgeois women who claimed it spoke to the frustrations of their lives. Davis's landmark translation gives new life in English to Flaubert's masterwork.