Saturday, February 15, 2014
I am reminded of when I read Voss by Patrick White, because that was the last time that I had disliked a character so much (excluding Nabokov's Lolita because that book was abhorrent for entirely different reasons). I won't be watching the BBC versions of this awful story.
What also caused me to recollect Voss is the writing itself, how Flaubert brought to life an entire village, little histories and side plots, and the absolute insidiousness of Madame herself. Look up the synonyms for insidious and you will find at least twenty-six words that describe her very well... all of them.
Naturally I cared for Monsieur Charles Bovary and was concerned for his welfare and for all those that were affected by Madame (including a daughter). "It is the fault of fatality" which is said by Monsieur Charles at the end, I believe actually captures the essence of the story quite accurately.
The contrast between husband and wife is remarkable, and sadly typical (or at least I have read this theme so many times already), a selfless man married to a selfish woman, and because he is so selfless, he will always endure her selfishness. It is fatalistic because, no matter what happens, no matter what or who Madame could have, she would inherently be unhappy, because she was severely lacking in compassion for anyone but herself. There was only one way that this story could go. It doesn't end well.