September Books 3) Sentimental Education, by Gustave Flaubert

For reasons that I will eventually make clear, I’m having a run of Famous Novels at the moment, and Flaubert’s second-best-known novel eventually floated to the top of my list. Frankly I was a bit disappointed; it’s the story of a provincial lad who moves to Paris and becomes fascinated with an older woman, but ends up in relationships with several other lovers, often overlapping, until it all disintegrates with more of a whimper than a bang. There are lots of references to contemporary politics, which was pretty exciting in France of the 1840s, and yet it seems little more than wall-paper. I feel that Jane Austen did the emotional dynamics between the sexes better, Proust did the agonised young man better, and Hugo did the politics better. Frédéric really has little to recommend him; fortunately it doesn’t go on too long.

For the first time since the end of 2013, my bookblogging has caught up with books read! Worldcon is truly over.