I had originally ordered the new Lydia Davis translation of Madame Bovary so that I could take part in Frances's read along but unfortunately my book did not arrive in time for me to join in. However, it did mean that I was able to take my time with the gorgeous book and even though I have read Madame Bovary before this time the reading experience was much more pleasant.
For a start (and I know this probably shouldn't matter but it so does!) the book looks divine - the cover design is perfect and suits the tone and subject matter of the book. Moving on to the content I have to say that this is my first experience of really seeing how important a translator's job is. I have previously not given much thought to what particular translation of a classic book I buy or read - I have always thought it couldn't possibly make that much of a difference. How wrong I was! Even though this was my second reading of Madame Bovary it felt like me first - this reading felt like a completely different story and approach and I was hooked!
I think the sadness and tragedy of the story struck me so much more this time - I was practically crying for Emma from the very beginning and begging her not to make certain choices. I felt so much more engaged with the story and the character of Emma in particular this time around. I felt frustrated by the social and historical period that placed women in this situation in regards to marriage and choice - although I can also see many parallels to today's society and the emphasis on marriage and partnership as the only valid life path for women.