Rivka Galchen

  • Madame Bovary, C’est Toi!

    The newest book by Lydia Davis happens to be Madame Bovary, which happens to have first been written by Gustave Flaubert, but still, since Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert has been thought about and written about at what one might call considerable length, and since Flaubert himself found saying things that had already been said, on purpose or accidentally, so anathema that he had to italicize most any commonplace—Lydia Davis has distinguished herself from most of her Bovary translating predecessors by maintaining the italics—and even wrote a satiric Dictionary of Received Ideas . . . because


    The lead characters in the 1999 movie Being John Malkovich discover a portal that lets a traverser actually be, for fifteen minutes, John Malkovich. When Malkovich himself, learning of the portal, traverses it, he finds himself in a nightmarescape in which everyone is a variously distorted version of himself: his head on all the different bodies, and all those various selves able only to mumble, repeatedly, “Malkovich.” It’s a kind of nightmare of influence not of being influenced, but of influencing.

    What is most masterful in Stéphane Audeguy’s beyond charming—but always also charming—second