Three Tales

Three Tales (Penguin Classics)

I don’t enjoy reading translated works that give no credit to the translator, but the 1924 Knopf translation of Flaubert’s tales gives no information. These tales were recommended by Knausgaard in his latest volume of Struggles, but I can’t say I have much kinship with them. Three barely cobbled together stories, the longest being A Simple Heart, the story of Felicite the servant of Madame Aubain for over fifty years who ends up with a parrot (of course) and no children of her own. The Legend of Saint Julian the Hospitaller was probably the most interesting, a medieval knight who is raised to be a saint by his mother and raised to be an emperor by his father and who goes nuts on hunting and killing wildlife, eventually cursed by an elk who says he’ll kill his parents. He does end up killing them after they creep into his house years later at the invitation of his wife, the daughter of an emperor. The last tale is Herodias, which I found extremely uninteresting being filled with Biblical allusions and such. I’m lazy, what can I say.

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Edited Dec 2016 to note that A Simple Heart came up again in I Love Dick. Of course I didn’t remember reading it a few months ago, so checked it out from the library only to have that feeling creep over me of having read it before. Thanks to LLL I can confirm I have!