Gemma Bovery (Paperback)
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Gemma is the bored, pretty second wife of Charlie Bovery, the reluctant stepmother of his children and the bete-noire of his ex-wife. Gemma's sudden windfall and distaste for London take them across the Channel to Normandy, where the charms of French country living soon wear off. Is it a coincidence that Gemma Bovery has a name rather like Flaubert's notorious heroine? Is it by chance that, like Madame Bovary, Gemma is bored, adulterous, and a bad credit risk? Is she inevitably doomed? These questions consume Gemma's neighbour, the intellectual baker, Joubert. Denying voyeurism, but nevertheless noting every change in the fit of her jeans, every addition to Gemma's wardrobe, her love-bites and lovers, Joubert, with the help of the heroine's diaries, follows her path towards ruin. Adultery and its consequences. Disappointment and deception. The English in France. Fat and slim. Then and now. Many familiar ingredients of the novel are given new life in Gemma Bovery's unique graphic form. Like Posy Simmond's legendary cartoon strips featuring the Weber family, Gemma Bovery was published in weekly parts in the Guardian.
Jonathan Cape Ltd
Publisher and industry reviews
"Truly original, witty and well-observed--a work of genius." --"Sunday Telegraph"
"The most original book of the year...beady, cunning, and terribly funny." -- Deborah Moggach, "Daily Mail"
"Hilarious...the absurdities of daily life among the aspiring metropolitan middle class at home and abroad." --"The Times"
UK Kirkus review
Flaubert famously declared himself to be Madame Bovary, but with this intriguing, inventive graphic novel, Posy Simmonds triumphantly reincarnates his heroine in her very own way. Spoilt and bored, Gemma sweet talks husband Charlie into moving to Normandy, where new man rather than new surroundings sets off the catastrophic chain of events. Mixing diary entries and comment from chief witness, the obsessive, creepy narrator, Joubert, it's loosely based on the classic, i.e. themes of adultery and debt still feature, though Gemma eventually demonstrates some redeeming qualities. All the characters are dreadfully funny (ineffectual Charlie, pretentious foodie Patrick), and it's all spiced up with meticulous, malicious observations de nos jours, pinpointing the curious behaviour of the English abroad. One complaint only, when the twists of the splendidly Gallic climax turn into bathos. Nonetheless, part romance, part thriller, wholly witty, it's refreshingly different and a joy to behold. (Kirkus UK)
About the author
Posy Simmonds was born in Berkshire in 1945. She is the author of many books for adults and children, including Literary Life, Lulu and the Flying Babies and Fred, the film of which was nominated for an Oscar. She was made an MBE in 2002 and has won many international awards for her work.
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