I usually finish a book if I make it past the first chapter or so, but I just couldn’t do it for Madame Bovary.
Something about the way the story is told made it just impossible for me to pay attention or engage with the characters. The imagery and prose was really nice, which kept me hoping ‘maybe it will get going here’ for nearly half the book. But in the end I just kept zoning out so often I had to give up.
I think the problem for me is the story is told from such a ‘zoomed out’ point of view. I felt I was observing all the characters from afar, in a detached kind of way, like they were specimens in a terrarium, instead of living the story through their eyes. Every description of events or scenery surrounding the characters was described in a detached way, from the narrators view, instead of being described through the eyes of the character. It made it very hard to care about anything that was happening.
The last book I gave up on, last year, Swan’s Way by Marcel Proust, also a French classic. Do I hate French novels?
Who knows. I should have quit on it a long time ago though instead of wasting so much time with it.
Now I’ve started ‘As I lay Dying’ and am already feeling much more engaged and interested in what is going on.