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Imprint

  • MacLehose Press
  • MacLehose Press
  • Maclehose Press

Madame Bovary of the Suburbs

Sophie Divry

3 Reviews

Rated 0

France, Fiction, Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945), Fiction in translation, Feminism & feminist theory

A sharp, fresh novel about a woman who lives the life she's meant to lead but finds it lacking - from the author of the much-loved The Library of Unrequited Love

The story of a woman's life, from childhood to death, somewhere in provincial France, from the 1950s to just shy of 2025.

She has doting parents, does well at school, finds a loving husband after one abortive attempt at passion, buys a big house with a moonlit terrace, makes decent money, has children, changes jobs, retires, grows old and dies. All in the comfort that the middle-classes have grown accustomed to.

But she's bored.

She takes up all sorts of outlets to try to make something happen in her life: adultery, charity work, esotericism, manic house-cleaning, motherhood and various hobbies - each one abandoned faster than the last. But no matter what she does, her life remains unfocussed and unfulfilled. Nothing truly satisfies her, because deep down - just like the town where she lives - the landscape is non-descript, flat, horizontal.

Sophie Divry dramatises the philosophical conflict between freedom and comfort that marks women's lives in a materialistic world. Our heroine is an endearing, contemporary Emma Bovary, and Divry's prose will remind readers of the best of Houellebecq, the cold, implacable historian who paints a precise portrait of an era and those who inhabit it and in doing so renders existence indelibly absurd.

Translated from the French by Alison Anderson

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Praise for Madame Bovary of the Suburbs

  • With its winks and nods to Flaubert's Madame Bovary, this is one of the most exciting finds of the season - Le Monde

  • The most paradoxical novel of the season: depressing, even desperately so, but at the same time, profoundly exalting, gentle and fluid - L Hebdo

  • One can't help thinking of Houellebecq when talking about Madame Bovary of the Suburbs - Elle

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Sophie Divry

Sophie Divry lives in Lyon, France. The Library of Unrequited Love, her first novel, was a bestseller in France and a boutique hit in the UK.

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