Friday Recommends is a weekly meme hosted by the lovely Dani at Pen to Paper, meant to bring attention to great books we have read in the past. Check out the other blogger participant's recommendations here.
Today I'm recommending Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert. I first encountered this book in a writing class, where my teacher used a passage from the novel to demonstrate the importance of setting and how it contributes to characterization. I fell in love with Flaubert's attention to detail, beautiful descriptions and striking characters. Here is the Chapters summary:
This exquisite novel tells the story of one of the most compelling heroines in modern literature--Emma Bovary. Unhappily married to a devoted, clumsy provincial doctor, Emma revolts against the ordinariness of her life by pursuing voluptuous dreams of ecstasy and love. But her sensuous and sentimental desires lead her only to suffering corruption and downfall. A brilliant psychological portrait,Madame Bovary searingly depicts the human mind in search of transcendence. Who is Madame Bovary? Flaubert''s answer to this question was superb: "Madame Bovary, c''est moi." Acclaimed as a masterpiece upon its publication in 1857, the work catapulted Flaubert to the ranks of the world''s greatest novelists.
Madame Bovary is feast for the senses; Flaubert's writing is so descriptive and detailed that I could feel Emma's silk robe, smell the scents of the French countryside, taste the dinner placed in front of her. As both a reader and a writer, I do agree with my former teacher that this book is a lesson in prose wrapped in the package of a poignant story, exploring the flaws in the human character. Emma is not a likeable character, but she is lovable (very much like the other Emma of Jane Austen's book of the same title!) I would highly recommend Madame Bovary to anyone who has romantic tastes, likes historical romances or is just looking for some beauty in their life.