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Monday, August 20, 2012

Flaubert Report



I ran into my roommate upon exiting the subway, or rather she ran into me. I was nose deep into the introduction of Madame Bovary (I had just finished the book and had to go back to the beginning to read the intro I skipped so as to avoid the spoilers, which I suggest, similarly, you skip this post if you plan to read the book and care about having details revealed). I heard someone shout, "You weirdo! You walk and read at the same time!?" I also received a slap on my arm, but I didn't even look up! I finished my sentence, thumbed the page and looked back at her, "Wow! You look pretty today, where are you headed?!" "Downtown..." "This book is AMAZING." "Apparently! I gotta go...I'll borrow it once you're done." I replied, "Done deal!" Then resumed with the intro, which further illuminated me as to why I enjoyed the novel so much.

I kept telling everyone, It's just so realistic. The wheels and cogs of Emma's brain- as a sucker for psychological explanation, although nothing was really explained so much as described, it was my most intimate knowledge of a character I feel maybe... ever. It reminded me of Jonathan Franzen's Freedom in giving the most thorough account of a married couple's life, alongside the individual characters and their personal desires (not to mention the obvious sort of desperate housewife character). There must have been some Emma Bovary inspiration for Patty! If not consciously then by way of Flaubert's permeating influence and contribution to fictional literature?

I'm so grateful to have reread this book the way it deserves to be read, with the eagerness to understand the minds and motives of the characters, as well as a newly tenderized imagination, so as to place myself in an unfamiliar world that revealed itself as more and more familiar as the story unfolded. The irony and humor, dry and objective, only dawned on me afterwards, even though I couldn't help laughing from some of the dialogue. Being the son of a surgeon, there's something clinical about the way Flaubert goes into the relationship, dissecting the innards of a cadaver... Only this was more like an autopsy on a living person. Or something in between, a zombie! The medical motif is very present in the book as well since Monsieur Bovary is a doctor and there's some brief, but appropriate church vs. science jabs. His objective style, economic and at ease, is something I'm both drawn to and admire.  The most brilliant things, for me, are the simplest.

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I'm an LA transplant now living in Brooklyn. I develop film projects by day, write at night, and have a dangerous predilection for vintage Robinson Golluber scarves- this blog serves as a tiny window to everything else I do when I'm not satisfying those first three passions. I'm trying to blog more and tweet less @annabelleqv. What about you?

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