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Madame Bovary  By  cover art

Madame Bovary

By: Gustave Flaubert
Narrated by: Davina Porter
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Publisher's Summary

Emma Bovary is not content to be the mere dutiful wife of a French country doctor. She yearns for excitement and a sense of romance that pulls at her so strongly she is powerless to resist, even though pursuing her dreams will exact a terrible price. Learn why Gustave Flaubert's compelling heroine has enchanted and puzzled readers for centuries.

Translation by Eleanor Marx-Aveling, originally published in 1886.
Public Domain (P)1989 Recorded Books, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"If one were to ask, 'World, which is the most perfect novel ever written?,' the world would immediately answer: Madame Bovary." (Washington Post's Book World)

What listeners say about Madame Bovary

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Now Here's a Story

Divina Porter gave so much life to Madame Bovary, and of course with no small contribution by its author, the book has a permanent position in my mental book shelf. Hours and hours of listening feeling like I was watching Emma coming apart and taking down the entire cast with her. So well written, you love and pity Emma, feel sorry for Charles and loathe the symbolic money lender for giving her the ability to do it all.

At the end all the tragic, tortured revelations, one glaring irony has a woman coming to collect a debt for Emma's lessons (lessons never taken but used as a cover up to her husband). The 'teacher' approaches poor Emma's suffering husband for a year of "lessons" not taken.

Ah the turn of the screw, the turn of the phrase. On the surface you can read a tale of a "Scarlet O'Hara" in reverse, a woman with everything who longs for a perfect love in a perfect and handsome man. She has all the "things" she needs, but belives she is without love. Her doting husband loves and trusts her, too simple a man to suspect her betrayals. In the end he drinks with one of her lovers proclaiming no bad feelings toward the man. Until the end, his love for her, the very love she sought in every wrong situation, honored her and maintained his belief in her perfection, even as her old love letters fell from his hands. The effect of her never finding what she wants costs him all that his small medical practice provided. (There's no place like home. She had the slippers on all the time!)

The side stories and political, religious and social commentary retell the trysts and errors that Emma commits on her road to ruin. The author uses Emma as the symbol of excess and the outcome as predictions of the future. Emma stands for the cost of immoral actions. Whether God or the taxman, someone gets paid. A compendium of archetypal characters we know and love, dressed in 3D emotion, vivid characterization; speaking words precise and poetic. Pretty near perfect!

22 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Good narrator, terrible recording

The story is tried-and-true, filled with lust, greed, bad choices, and decay. Davina Porter is a wonderful narrator, and does well with the French language. However, this sounds like someone converted an ancient 8-track to digital, complete with squeaks, dragging, hisses, etc. At some points it was unlistenable. This classic deserves a fresh, new update!

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

great story, bad recording

Madame Bovary is a great story and Davina is a fantastic reader (she's great in Anna Karinina),but unfortunately they are both lost to poor sound quality. The audio is so muffled it takes a lot of effort to understand even a few words. Until a better recording is available, best stick with the book (a good translation is available on Barnes & Noble or Bantam Classics, but avoid Penguin Classics on this title; it's not very good).

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

BBC calling from London

The recording sounded like an old BBC shortwave broadcast.
Museum piece story that time has passed by.


5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Bad sound quality

I wish I could hear this recording. Sound quality is really bad. Audible should have another unabridged recording of this great book.

sigh

4 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Fake information

It’s not the original book by Gustave Flaubert. Please, someone, solve this problem. The original one is only available by credit.

2 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Very bad recording

Audible should remove this recording from their list. The sound was very bad. Once again it is not possible to find out who the translator is.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic!

It has been over 30 years since I read Madame Bovary in High School French class. Back then she seemed inexplicalbly crazed. What an unbelievable difference revisiting the story as a 50+ year old with some world experience behind me. Fascinating story, wonderfully read. I enjoyed this very much.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Terrible French Accent

Flaubert is brilliant. But the pronunciation by the reader was unforgivable. She makes “grande rue” sound like “grand roux” and “Bovary” sound like “Boveury.” For such a French language masterpiece, a reader competent in French is necessary!

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    4 out of 5 stars

Well

Throughout I was never sure if I wanted to keep listening but for whatever reason I did and finished. Emma was depressed and I’m kinda just sad now.

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  • Roo
  • 04-01-15

Tragic love story

This story of tragic love loses none of its power no matter how many times I hear it.
Madam Bovary is one of histories saddest victims of men's wickedness.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Welsh Mafia
  • 12-27-08

The road to Rouen

Published in 1857, Emma Bovary remains the modern woman and the contemporary parallels are particularly striking when compared against the striking lack of a current novel with similar insight. The bounds of Realism are established and stretched; Emma is a troubled and troubling individual the equal of whom has only been seen in Edith Wharton?s Lily Bart. Classic European literature, visiting on the reader the personal corruption and moral high ground from which we have not yet been delivered in these times of consumer fetish and credit crunch.
With Revolutionary Road in hand, it is also an opportunity to review the state of marriage in literature ? the totally abashed Charles Bovary a peerless portrait in ruin.

1 person found this helpful