Gemma Bovery (review: 4/5)

Posy Simmonds originally wrote Gemma Bovery as a 100+ episode serial in The Guardian. The story is told with a cool mix of comics panels, splash illustrations, big chunks of text. It all mixes in together.
excerpt from Gemma Bovery

The narrator is a baker living in Normandy, who becomes obsessed with Gemma’s adultery as it happens and as it’s later revealed in her diaries. The story pokes a lot of fun at the stereotypes of the English and the French, and the absurdities of middle-class escapism. It’s dark, but not cynical. A lot of fun even though the impending doom is spelled out in the first page (and in its inspiration, Madame Bovary). There are some more samples on the publisher’s website.

Here’s a funny bit from an interview with Simmonds in the Comics Journal:

I would ask lots of French people, “Tell me the eight or 10 best things about France and then the things you like best about England.” They’d enthuse about le vin [wine], le fromage [cheese], le paysage [landscape], the fashion, the food, the roads, the culture, etc. in France… and when they got to England they would go, “Err, whiskey,” and they’d think very hard and go, “Harrods,” or they’d go, “London taxis,” and someone said, “Scaffolding, your scaffolding’s very good.”

One thought on “Gemma Bovery (review: 4/5)

  1. I love this book. You’re spot on – it is dark but not cynical. I wasn’t sure about the book’s punchline, but as I was (almost) in tears by the end, I needed something to smile about. Love your quote about scaffolding!

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