Emma Bovary, updated and in graphic form. I thought it was terrific. It's the first graphic novel I read where I understood the idea--that the story is all there in words and the pictures work with it. It's great synergy.
Her later book, Tamara Drewe, is also worth a read. These don't take long, but they are good reads. I'd suggest those who are skeptical of graphic novels give these a try.
Gustave Flaubert?s Madame Bovary is a classic tale of one woman?s utter ennui with her lot in life. In the 1857 original, Emma, a country daughter with a taste for the finer things, marries stolid Charles Bovary, quickly becomes bored with her dreary existence as a housewife, and embarks on numerous adulterous affairs to liven things up. Emma?s rebellions against the prescribed roles of the day struck an early blow for feminism, but she also suffers greatly for her transgressions. It?s a complicated work of literature, and it?s rendered more colorful but no less complex by artist/author Posy Simmonds? graphic novel adaptation, Gemma Bovary. The plot is similar?Gemma marries a bore and has affairs to while away the tedium?but the story is told by a neighbor, an intellectual baker named Jaubert, who spends his time obsessively observing Gemma on her road to ruin. In fact, from the first page we know that Gemma is dead. The question becomes, who helped her get that way? Gemma Bovary is a true blend of forms?there are comic book-style panels and dialogue balloons typical of the graphic novel format, but Simmonds includes typed text like a traditional novel as well. Her illustrations are elegantly cartoonish and like Flaubert?s criticism of the bourgeois class of his day, Simmonds paints an all-too-real vision of today?s wealthy but shallow yuppie lifestyle. Gemma Bovary is a delightfully in-depth modern look at the classic truisms that hold true even today.
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