Home > 2000, 21st Century, Abandoned books, Claro, Classic Revisited, French Literature, Novel > Madman Bovary by Claro: read Flaubert instead

Madman Bovary by Claro: read Flaubert instead

September 9, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

Madman Bovary by Claro. 2008.

When I entered a book store and asked for Madman Bovary, the clerk looked down on me and replied “You mean Madame Bovary” and it wasn’t even a question. She didn’t say “of course” but I heard it. So my voice was slightly irritated when I confirmed that I really wanted Madman Bovary by Claro, published by Babel.

It’s the story of a man who’s been dumped by his lover Estée. He decides to stay in bed and drown his sorrow in re-reading Madame Bovary. The blurb was intriguing, I wondered what he did with that pitch.

Then I lost myself in a sort of incoherent stream of consciousness in a style full of affectation. I hate sentences as “Naturellement virgule par nonchalence virgule il en vint à se délier de toutes les résolutions qu’il s’était faites.”. (“Naturally comma out of nonchalance comma then again he came to free himself of all the resolutions he had taken”.) I wonder why it’s not written full stop at the end. Claro should read Jean-Bernard Pouy to learn how to play with the language without sounding pedantic. You can’t take yourself too seriously when you want to twist grammar and vocabulary.

I didn’t survive past page 47, too mad for me. I left the guy where he was, thinking I should re-read Flaubert instead.

  1. September 9, 2011 at 11:27 am

    From the excerpt you give, I shudder to think what Flaubert would have made of this writer’s prose style!


    • September 9, 2011 at 1:20 pm

      I know what tou mean. What is this style called? Post-modernism?


  2. September 9, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    I must confess, when I read the title, IIwas thinking I would be surprised if it had been any good. The pun is too heavy.


    • September 9, 2011 at 1:18 pm

      It could have been good. 1280 Âmes was excellent.


  3. September 9, 2011 at 2:36 pm



    • September 9, 2011 at 2:47 pm

      Lisa, I love your comment. 🙂


  4. September 9, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    I know that I’d dislike that too. I dislike those sort of gimmicks.


    • September 9, 2011 at 3:53 pm

      I can’t see you enjoying this one.
      Let’s see the sunny side of it: this time, you’re not frustrated that it’s not translated into English!


  5. September 12, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    It sounds rather like the highbrow equivalent of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Piggybacking off another work to sell something that perhaps couldn’t sell on its own.

    But I’ve not (couldn’t since I don’t read French) read it, so I could be wrong. A year from now I may be hailing the translation as brilliant. I’ve been wrong to that degree before in prejudging something.

    47 pages and out. Gosh. How’s it getting treated in the wider French review press? Does it have fans?


    • September 12, 2011 at 12:59 pm

      The publisher is a good one. The writer is praised, he translates Pynchon in French btw.
      Another French blogger managed to read it until p74. better than me.
      So perhaps it’s just me and not the book. I can’t stand pretentious highbrow style with affected literary tricks.


  1. January 1, 2012 at 1:09 am

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