“Love, she believed, should arrive all at once with thunder and lightning–a whirlwind from the skies that affects life, turns it every which way, wrests resolutions away like leaves, and plunged the entire heart into an abyss.
She did not know that rain forms lakes on house terraces when the gutters are stopped up, and she remained secure in her ignorance until she suddenly discovered a crack in the wall.”
– Flaubert, Madame Bovary
For those of you who don’t know, I’m a bit of a hopeless romantic and a great enthusiast of word porn. I didn’t get much reading done this summer, as I was busy being an intern in D.C., but I did make it through Madame Bovary (though it took a couple months). If you know anything about Madame Bovary, you know that it is most certainly not a happy love story of any sorts, which is fine by me. Although I do consider myself a hopeless romantic, I also realize that neither real life, nor the stories that often reflect real life, are romantic fairy tales (that’s also not to say that Madame Bovary in particular reflects real life, I’m just trying to get across that stories don’t always have happy endings either, and in fact, are sometimes more meaningful when they don’t). However, there were a few spots throughout the book that took my breath away, and this was one of them. I just can’t get over how beautiful this statement is (I must, in part, give major props to the translator of the edition I own, as the original text is in French). I probably reread it about ten times after first reading it because, not only do I find it to be exceptionally beautiful, but also deeply rooted in truth.
Gustave Flaubert may have been a major misogynist, which the character of Emma Bovary is a clear testimony to, but goodness could he write.
May you enjoy this bit of Bovary as much as I do.