Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Top ten stories about infidelity

Alison MacLeod was raised in Canada and has lived in England since 1987. She is Professor of Contemporary Fiction at Chichester University and lives in Brighton. She is the author of three novels: The Changeling; The Wave Theory of Angels; and Unexploded, which is longlisted for the 2013 Man Booker Prize. MacLeod has also written a collection of stories, Fifteen Modern Tales of Attraction.

She named her top ten stories about infidelity for the Guardian. One novel on the list:
Madame Bovary by Gustav Flaubert

Who can forget Emma and Léon's furious cab ride through the streets of Rouen, their illicit passion concealed from view? In 1857, following publication, the Second Empire tried Flaubert for offences to morality and religion. He was acquitted, and the novel became an immediate bestseller. From the distance of the 21st century, it is easy to lose sight of just how radical Madame Bovary was when it first appeared, not only in its new "objective" style of prose, but also in its refusal to either romanticise or sermonise. Flaubert confessed to weeping at times as he wrote; he sympathised so much with Emma in her final days that he felt physically ill.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Madame Bovary is on Álvaro Enrigue's list of ten notable books based on other books, Jennifer Gilmore's list of the ten worst mothers in books, Amy Sohn's list of six favorite books, Sue Townsend's 6 best books list, Helena Frith Powell's list of ten of the best sexy French books, the Christian Science Monitor's list of six novels about grand passions, John Mullan's lists of ten landmark coach rides in literature, ten of the best cathedrals in literature, ten of the best balls in literature, ten of the best bad lawyers in literature, ten of the best lotharios in literature, and ten of the best bad doctors in fiction, Valerie Martin's list of six novels about doomed marriages, and Louis Begley's list of favorite novels about cheating lovers. It tops Peter Carey's list of the top ten works of literature and was second on a top ten works of literature list selected by leading writers from Britain, America and Australia in 2007. It is one of John Bowe's six favorite books on love.

--Marshal Zeringue