3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 17 October 2010
My first introduction to Flaubert and I was a little disappointed.
He writes sparsely, and well, but it felt more like a technical exercise than anything else. These stories, oddly given their subject matter, seemed to lack heart. "A Simple Heart", which many think highly of, was a rush through an average servant's life but it left little room for contemplation. "Saint Julian" I enjoyed the most as Flaubert's fleeting style actually suited this sort of pseudo-medieval tale. "Herodias" was probably the weakest, requiring too much historical knowledge and, again, lacking some soul.
So this didn't impress me. Neither as good as those who came before (Balzac) or after him (Maupassant).
on 31 October 2010
wonderful characterisation, addressing the emotive reasoning of the heart and mind, and through 3 novels, Flaubert discusses the innocent simple human being in the sophisticated world that we have created in Simple Heart, the human engaging with life to the fullest and the irony of events disengaging the same human from the world in St Julian the Hospitallier, and finally in Herodias, a momemtal few hours of a particular day when everything colludes towards a gruesome end, revealing a multitude of prior historical events and diverse dysfunctional personnages. A good read and much to ponder on.