Friday, March 3, 2017

170. Bouvard et Pecuchet

Bouvard et Pecuchet
Gustave Flaubert
Around 350 pages

Oh, Flaubert.  What a disappointment.  I really thought after all his betrayals he would at least end on a high note.  We should have just stopped after Madame Bovary and A Sentimental Education.  I hesitate to be too hard on this one, as it was unfinished.  Who knows, maybe he was planning on scrapping most of it or rewriting chapters.  One would hope.

Bouvard and Pecuchet are two Parisian copy clerks.  They are basically the same, the only difference being that Pecuchet is a virgin.  After meeting once, they instantly become "close friends" (I guess it's too early to discuss the homosexual undertones here).  When Bouvard inherits a sizable fortune from his uncle/dad, he and Pecuchet decide to move to the countryside together (again, I think at this point we are just supposed to call them "dandies").  While there, they explore almost every academic pursuit they can think of, including medicine, botany, history, writing, literature, education...the list goes on and on.

I am sick of dealing with men who think they know everything in my real life; I really don't want to have to read about them too.  I appreciate that Flaubert was paying homage to picaresque novels, but the joke got old pretty quickly.  Personally, I was pleased when Pecuchet contracted an STD; couldn't he have written more about that?

I have no idea why this was included on The List, so I will have to check my copy for an explanation when I get home.   In any case, I highly recommend skipping this.

RATING: **---

Interesting Facts:

Flaubert claimed to have read over 1500 books in preparation for writing this novel.  Well...did he have a blog about it?

Received lukewarm reviews.  Ahem...what?  That's...shocking.

UP NEXT: Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.  I have read this one already so expect another review shortly!

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