This month’s book is Flaubert’s Parrot by Julian Barnes.In Flaubert’s Parrot, English doctor Geoffrey Braithwaite examines the life of Gustave Flaubert and uses his writings to make sense of his own life. The title bird is a stuffed parrot that sat on Flaubert’s desk while he wrote Un cœur simple (and which features a parrot by the name of Loulou).
Cooper enjoyed this book – she learned a lot about Flaubert. Her favorite part of the book follows:
“In 1845 Gustave was traveling through Antibes, on his way to Italy, when he came across a sick parakeet which merited an entry in his diary; the bird used to perch carefully on the mudguard if its owner’s light cart, and at dinnertime would be brought in and placed on the mantlelpiece. The diarist notes the ‘strange love’ clearly evident between man and pet.”
Cooper thinks if the book had been titled Flaubert’s Budgie, it certainly would have won the Pulitzer or Nobel Prize.